The Night Micheal Jackson’s Double Stole My Spoons

I had been looking forward to the mini-vacation for over a month. Leaving for the hotel in the afternoon, going to the show by a Micheal Jackson double in the evening, then enjoying a relaxed evening at the bar (with non-alcoholic cocktails thanks to my meds) before going to sleep in a comfy hotel bed. Breakfast buffet in the morning, and then slowly making our way back home.

Two days earlier, I had had physiotherapy, and even though we had some stress with water damage that afternoon, by Thursday, our leave date, I was feeling well. I had slept reasonably well that night, my tension was manageable, and my concentration and energy levels were at “medium” (can’t even remember how “high” feels like so “medium” is good). It was, all in all, one of my better days. I’ve been having more of these since starting on my new meds even though I’m still cautious, thinking it might be just a phase before slumping.

Anyway, I was in a good mood. We left home a bit later than planned, and then had train delay, but I was still in a good mood when we arrived at the hotel. We checked in, went up to our room to put our bags there, and then went on exploring the hotel for a bit. After about forty minutes of exploring, I could feel exhaustion and pain in my legs creeping in so we went to the lobby and had some frozen joghurt while relaxing and talking.

Then we got ready for dinner and the show. My black dress reminded me pretty clearly of the fact that I had gained weight since quitting work in January but thanks to the way it was cut, the belly didn’t show too much. I made a mental note to try on clothes before leaving home for an event next time and was just grateful that I could still pull it off (otherwise, I would had sported a very elegant combo of jogging pants and wide t-shirt–at least, the t-shirt was black).

Dinner was really good even though I felt slightly out of place in the rather fancy-feeling restaurant, and feeling a ping of regret for not being able to order a white wine to my fish. Afterwards, we made our way to the show, which took place in the event part of the hotel. A Micheal Jackson tribute show. I ordered an Ipanema (my favourite non-alcoholic cocktail) and was not disappointed–might have been the best one I’ve ever had, actually.

When the show started, the first thing I realised was that it was too loud. It reminded me of the few times within the past decade that I had actually gone to a cinema, which usually ended with me having a raging headache by the end because of volume and neck and back tension building up. I hoped this wouldn’t be the case this time.

The show itself was well-made even though I realised how little of Micheal’s music I knew, and that part of it just isn’t my cup of tea. Still, I was in good company, had a great drink to sip, and an interesting stage show and choreo to watch.

If only my health had played along… But no, no such luck for me. My back and neck tensed up during the show, leading to me being uncomfortable and in pain, and the volume and everything slowly sapped my energy. By the end of the show, I was so exhausted that I went almost directly to bed. In effect, Micheal’s double had stolen every spoon I had left.

The next morning, I woke up with a bad case of cramped neck muscles from the pillow (it was too soft for me). I also realised as the day wore on that not only had the show left me completely exhausted on Thursday evening, it had also borrowed into my spoons for the next day (and even Saturday).

The show, this one 90-minute show, had left me exhausted and without much concentration or energy for two days. This is my reality now. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that will alter your life. In my case, because I had pushed myself to ignore my deteriorating health for so long because no doctor had taken me seriously, the changes were drastic, and I’m still discovering just how drastic. I’m hoping with all my heart that this phase of better days will last, that it is actually an effect of my new medication, and that it will not suddenly poof again. It has allowed me to get back to studying, to appear from the fibro fog that had clouded my mind for most of this year. Not every day is the same, and not every day is one of these better days, but right now, I’m experiencing more better than bad days. I will just have to stay clear of Micheal Jackson doubles, it seems.

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Why I Keep Making Goals

For some people, it seems insane to keep making goals only to change them again a few weeks later because something happened. Again and again.

Not too long ago, I was told to just take a break from everything, stop making new goals, just to focus on my health and myself for a while. While this is certainly good advice for many people who get stressed out by goals (or rather by not being able to reach their goals), it wouldn’t work for me. And here’s why:

I feel lost when I don’t have any goals. No matter how insignificant a goal might be, if I have one, I know which direction I’m trying to go. If I’m left without any goals, I won’t know in which direction to take my days. I will just be floating in the wind, powerless to choose my own direction, and I don’t like this feeling. I don’t like to feel as if I lost control of my life.

So I keep making goals. Goals give me something to move towards. They give me structure and a direction. They give me back some control, or semblance of it.

When you’ve lost so much due to health, when you’ve crashed as hard as I have (because I refused to acknowledge my growing health problems for a long time because doctors made me feel crazy so I pushed through for as long as I could), any shred of control that you can regain is huge.

Having to adjust or even throw out goals because they don’t work anymore hurts, yes, but for me personally, this is still better than not having them in the first place.

So if you need me, I’ll be here making new goals, or readjusting existing ones, or evaluating goals to see if they’re still obtainable.

Brain Fog and Writing

Yesterday started out as one of those unproductive days where I end up wondering where my time went at the end of the day. So I pulled up my WIP and forced myself to write at least something. After a few sentences (that had taken a long time to think of and write), I fixed myself something to eat and watched a Coursera video while eating. Curioously enough, my brain wandered back to my WIP and I had a hard time focusing on the video lecture, so when I was done eating, I returned to my story. And suddenly the words flowed. I still needed a lot more time than in the past but somehow, I had managed to break through the fibro fog.

I added a whopping (for me) 1,145 words to my WIP yesterday, over the course of the whole afternoon. And it felt great! I felt productive and like a writer once more.

Maybe it was just one of my better days, maybe it had to do with me sleeping better on average since I started my new meds, and maybe it was sheer good luck. I’ll take it. It was finally a day that didn’t end with frustration because I couldn’t get anything done. I even cooked for us in the evening, and had fun doing so (meatballs, potatoes, and vegetables, so not exactly the easiest or fastest dinner but also no high-end three course masterpiece). And it didn’t feel as if I’d depleted my spoons afterwards.

I did, however, forget my meds while cooking and didn’t remember them until four hours later. Yeah, made for an interesting night (my dreams! I swear, whoever writes and directs them is nuts, and my sleep in the mornings is typically so light that I weave in and out of my dreams and fully experience them for hours). Now I’m kind of hoping this doesn’t trigger a new round of side effects for me since my body was finally getting used to them. Guess I can’t win at everything on the same day.