Monday, September 16, 2019

Adjusting to a 'New Normal'

It was a week of unpacking, sorting, loading up closets and cabinets and hanging up photos and decorative mirrors this week. We had the entire week off to just unwind and get used to our new home. When it came down to the wire and my movers were ready to rock 'n roll, my anxiety kicked in and it hasn't really stopped to tell you the truth. A few days before the move, my heart would race out of control. I knew what it was and thought, well once I get into the new place, I'll be fine. But every single morning, I wake up with a pounding heart, to where I have to wait till noon to enjoy my coffee. Not giving that up for anything! I'm learning more about anxiety and how it can linger, even though you may feel calm. The cortisol response and the 'fight or flight' response can still be lingering in your system after something traumatic. Leaving my ancestral home was kind of traumatic, although I was happy to get out of there due to the circumstances. It just felt like I was grieving all over again. I'm starting to get used to the home, and it's definitely starting to look more like home to me.

There are pros and cons with everything. Since I have fibromyalgia and chronic pain, it can be hard to do certain things, like walk my dog down the road. Some days I can walk a mile or two, while other days, I can't even walk down the stairs without yelping. About a month before we bought our townhome, we were told by my real estate lawyer about all of the rules of this community. I was excited that right outside my door, I have a little patch of lawn, plus a courtyard to walk Lola in. But when I moved in, I was told that I could only walk Lola on the outskirts of the complex, which has hills and some steps. Some days, it's no big deal, while other days, I need Madelene to take the dog out. It depends. It's especially hard on me in inclement weather since I have asthma and chronic bronchitis. This is going to be a difficult hurdle to overcome. One day I had to take Lola out while being in excruciating pain, and once I got to the destination, I wasn't quite sure I could make it back to the building. After forcing myself, I was in pain for two entire days afterwards. It's not all the time---just when I have flareups. This would've actually have been a deal breaker if I had known that this was a strict rule regarding where to walk our dogs. I'm actually very stressed out about it and not quite sure what to do.

A lot of people misunderstand people who have chronic pain. They see us mostly on our good days, walking or exercising, and then on our bad days, we're bed-ridden and helpless. We're not "lazy" and we are not using our pain as an excuse to get out of anything. There are so many of us with "invisible disabilities." Whether you suffer with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD---it's disheartening to think people will doubt your suffering just because they haven't gone through similar trials. It's not fun and sometimes, it's quite debilitating. Most of us do our best to live healthy and normal lives.  If you're one of the sufferers of an invisible illness, it's all you can do to shower up, clean the house and make dinner. If all you did was shower up---then you accomplished a lot. Give yourself a break and try not to absorb the judgments of other people who really don't understand. For years I have taken ibuprofen to lessen the pain, but in the process, it burned a hole in my stomach. I can't take the heavy duty pain meds because it gives me a horrible reaction. It makes my breathing really shallow, to where my heart rate is like 30 bpm. They tried giving me pain meds in the hospital, and ended up giving me CPR. The only thing I can take is Tylenol. And even with that, I have to be careful of my liver. Some days, I numb the pain with a cocktail, but it doesn't last long unfortunately.

I have a stationary bike that I use to exercise in my home. It feels better on my joints and helps me with my anxiety. I never thought exercising would help with anxiety since it makes your heart rate speed up, but after you're done, your heart rate and blood pressure go down dramatically. As long as my exercise is in my home or in a building--I'm okay. But if it requires to literally travel down roads, I'm afraid that my pain will stop me right in my tracks and I'll have no way of walking back. So right now, I'm relying on my workout machines at home and trying to get these achey legs moving so I can walk further without the excruciating pain.

Other than that, I have been working mainly on my editing projects and advertising, but because I was away for quite a bit, the workload has lightened up, unfortunately. Once clients don't get a quick response, they go to another editor or blogger who advertises for them. Today is my first day back, so when I opened up my email, I had like a dozen as opposed to 100 in my inbox. No bueno! So bear with me as I get acclimated and more adjusted in my new place. We are working on the home office so I have a place to officially work. Right now, I'm typing from my dining room. My work area is very important, always has been. I'll be broadcasting more too in the near future. I just gotta get my bearings here. I mean, it's not like I moved to another state, so I'm not sure why it has taken me so long. But in the meantime, I am gradually working my way back to a new normal.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
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