I have a very supporting husband and a group of people that love me, but I still find it hard to sometimes truly explain how much pain I am in or what I need. Lately, fatigue has been a major issue for me. I don’t know if it is the newest symptom to plague my life, depression, everything that has been going on in our lives, or a side effect of my new medication or a cumulation of all of those things but just getting out of bed in the morning has proven to be a giant battle to conquer, so having the energy to explain everything that I am feeling and thinking is non existent and causes issues with my husband and I.
It’s a tightrope he has to walk between pushing me to push myself, so I can still feel fulfilled in my day. So I can stretch and walk and feel the sun on my skin. Most of the time these days it’s been very hard to do much of anything – between pain and depression, I’ve pretty much succumbed to staying in bed and reading and sleeping. I’m glad my husband pushes me, most of the time. Today he pushed me, and I was able to get so many tasks done this morning while I was in minimal pain, take a bath, eat a nourishing lunch, work on this post, and then spend some time cuddling with my cat in the sunshine reading my book. I felt positive. I felt joy. I felt feelings.
However, some days I can’t get myself there. Some days I can do some minimal things but need to rest the rest of the day, but it barely seems like I’ve done anything at all. Why do I already need to rest? How do I explain that?
The Spoon Theory
The Spoon Theory is a simple way to explain energy levels to friends and family and it’s how I’ve gone about explaining my energy and pain to my husband. I have made my own chart according to what is hard for me and what takes the most energy. I’m an introvert so anytime I have to interact with other humans, it requires more energy from me than my husband who is very extroverted. This has been very helpful as it also shows ways my husband can help me. He does a lot of small (and big) things for me each day, so I have more energy for other things, like my writing, or yoga.
Here are some things I have learned:
Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones
You know what you need. You know when you can push your limits, and when you need to rest. Let your partner, friends, and family know what it feels like to be in your body. It might seem odd as to why a simple dinner would cause such a fuss, but if you explain to them all the things that could trigger your pain, they will have a better perspective.
Don’t make commitments
I have learned that making commitments causes me too much stress. I never know if I can keep them, then I feel so guilty for having to cancel last minute. It’s one thing if you make plans with someone who understands your condition, so if you do have to cancel, they aren’t surprised and understand, but I find it better to just let people know that I, unfortunately, cannot commit to anything because I don’t ever know how much pain I will be in, and find it better to just go with the flow.
Let the guilt go
I spend so much time feeling guilty about my illnesses. I feel guilty that sometimes I cannot do things and need help from my husband. I feel guilty that I can’t go do things when people ask me to. I feel guilty that finding a full-time job is more difficult because of my illnesses which means my husband has to work harder. There is a lot of guilt to go around, but it doesn’t do anyone any good. Tell the people in your life how appreciative of them you are and how much you care about them. You didn’t ask for this pain. You have nothing to feel guilty about.
Explain on one of your good days
When I am having really bad days, it’s best that no one talks to me. I can’t think straight and as much as I try for it not to, the pain can control my emotions and I can often come off agitated, angry, and stressed, and negative energy breeds negative energy. It’s best to wait until I’m feeling pretty good to sit down and converse about everything.
Do you have any tips on explaining your pain to your friends or family? Let me know in the comments.