It’s great to see the return of the prompts from Sheryl at A Chronic Voice for March. I’ve been losing my blogging motivation this year as my focus has been on other projects but I always want to join in with these prompts and enjoy reading the posts of others too. The prompts for March are:
Dealing – Since having Covid in October last year, I’ve been dealing with fatigue that’s even worse than normal for me. I actually find fatigue more troublesome to deal with than pain. I don’t find that there is much I am able to do when fatigue almost literally knocks me off my feet and stops me from doing the activities that I usually would to manage pain and keep my mental health on an even keel. I am trying to make use of the tools I learned way back when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia around a decade ago – planning, pacing and prioritising and going back to basics in terms of setting myself daily goals which are achievable but which leave me time for exercise and meditation. It isn’t easy when you want to be doing so much more but hopefully this approach will work for me in the long run.
Thinking – I’m a chronic over-thinker, plagued by unhelpful thoughts and my mind is often out of control, or so it feels. So Sheryl hit the nail on the head in one of her descriptions of this prompt as I am actively trying to think less! I tend to overanalyse almost everything, often jumping to conclusions and it really isn’t helpful when you suffer from anxiety, as I do.
In an attempt to help my mental health, I have been reading up on mindfulness and have begun a daily meditation practice to try and quieten my mind. I’ve tried several times to get a meditation practice started as I really do notice the difference when I do take time out for it, but up until now, I’ve never managed to stick with it long term. This time, I am making use of the Headspace app and meditating at the same time every day, which I am hoping will help to solidify this as a habit.
Reacting – Recently, I seem to have had a flurry of people asking me what I find to do with my time all week given that I am no longer in paid employment (due to illness). I’m never quite sure if the question is asked with the best of intentions and/or genuine curiosity, but I find it quite uncomfortable and often react in a defensive way. This is because, honestly, I feel under attack and as if people are really thinking “you should be working, there’s nothing wrong with you” or “you must spend all your days going out for lunch and lounging on the sofa watching daytime TV”. In fact nothing could be further from the truth.
I think that most people have no idea whatsoever how hard and time-consuming it can be to do mundane activities when you have a chronic illness. For instance, having a shower can easily take an entire morning if you’re struggling with pain and fatigue, likewise preparing even a simple meal can use up a lot of spoons and not leave many left to get through the rest of the day. Nor do others see the days that you just can’t do anything at all as you’re bedridden with pain, fatigue, migraine or any other symptom.
I hope that I answer such questions about what I do or don’t do in a calm and relatable way, but I would dearly love to react better internally and not get tied up in thoughts about whether the person was really attacking me or just asking a simple question!
Experiencing – Last week, I had my first appointment with the local Long Covid Clinic and have been put forward to take part in an interactive online course with others in the same boat. The clinician I spoke with said that much of the course content would be familiar to me as it is similar to what is taught here in the UK on chronic pain management courses. Nonetheless, for me, it is the overall experience of going on courses, the personal stories and the interactions you have with other participants that can help you to learn new ways of approaching things and so I am looking forward to the classes, even if the content may not be new to me.
Viewing – Nature is a really important part of my chronic illness toolkit and here in the UK we are just beginning to see the first signs of spring. So for me that means lots of time spent viewing nature. When I am out with the dogs, I tend to keep a note of what nature there is to view as I walk through the fields and enjoy learning about the wildlife that I come across.
Back at home, the bird feeders have been really busy and require frequent restocking. Most days, I see around 12 different species of bird in the garden. At this time of year, some of the birds are beginning to gather materials with which to make their nests whilst others seem to focus solely on feeding and bathing, for now at least. Whatever they’re up to, I find them soothing to watch and it gives me great joy that they spend so much time in the garden here. In fact, if I were to think about something positive about being mainly home-bound with chronic illness, it’s that, as per W. H. Davies’ poem “Leisure”, I do have the “time to stand and stare” and my life is much the richer for being able to watch the nature on my doorstep.
12 thoughts on “A Chronic Voice Writing Prompts – March 2023”
Hi Sarah, thanks for being the first to join us in the March Linkup – I really appreciate it! It was good to ‘catch up’ with you. I too, am a chronic overthinker and tend to catastrophize. No matter how I try to reason with myself haha. Sending you good thoughts!
Hi Sheryl – thanks for setting up the prompts for us all, it’s very much appreciated 🙂 I think overthinking is probably a common trait for many of us….some days, I so wish my brain had a pause button!
Sending very best wishes your way
Interesting read Sarah, I too am an overthinker. Do you think it’s a part of being chronically ill? I know what you mean about being asked about what you do all day, if only I could have my old life back where I was out and about all day. Rushing back to cook dinner for the family. I think that connecting with people who are suffering the same or similar can be really helpful, even if it’s to learn something you already know.
I too struggle with overthinking. I wonder if it’s just that we have so much more time to do it due to our symptoms. When I can’t do what I want or need to do, is when my thinking gets out of control.
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I know just what you mean, if I’m not able to do what I had planned, my brain goes onto overdrive. My thoughts go into negative overdrive and I end up blaming myself for everything and make myself feel even worse. I wish I could show myself the same compassion I’d show others!
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Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes I do wonder how many of us with chronic illness are overthinkers too. I’ve always been that way so I think being an overthinker may have contributed to me becoming ill in the first place. I guess for others, they overthink because they are ill wondering how it all happened and perhaps as they have more time to sit and think than they did before they were ill. A very interesting point to ponder though.
And yes, I’d be lost without the online connections to others whose lives are similar. It definitely helps when you don’t feel as if you’re the only one living like this!
Hi Sarah! What a great write-up for this month. I was nodding my head to all of this and actually have some of your points in my own article for this month’s link-up. So many excellent points here. I’m an overthinking. I get stressed easily. I struggle with work. Those mundane tasks you’ve mentioned really add up and it’s so hard to explain to people who have never had issues with it.
By the way, I’m not sure if you saw it or not, but after seeing your January content, I added your site to my list of 8 Women in Pain Bloggers To Follow in 2023.
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Hello – thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m glad that my words resonated with you, yes it does feel like an uphill struggle some days…
Thanks for adding me to your list as well 🙂
Take care and have a great month
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am overthinker too and it can be debilitating at times. I like to use journal prompts some times. Thank you for sharing.
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Hi Lauren – thanks for reading and commenting. So many of us do seem to be overthinkers and yes it can be so overwhelming.
I love nature and bird watching too! I have to settle for the bird activity in the trees across from the parking lot in my building. It’s fun to look for the migrating birds too.
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Thanks for reading and commenting. Birds are amazing and even on my darkest days, they manage to lift me spirits just through a few minutes of watching them. The first of the summer migrants are just arriving back here now and over the winter, I enjoyed looking out for the birds who winter here and spend the summer in Scandinavia. I also find that learning more about birds takes my mind off things and can help stop the overthinking too!