Many of you know why I love to bake, and involve myself in my other pastime of amateur pantomime and theatre.
Having lived with my condition for over 6 years now, I’ve had more medication reviews than I care to mention, and lots of advice on how to cope with the life changes I’ve had to make.
The best bit of advice I was given was to focus on what I can do, instead of what I used to be able to do. I will admit that this advice was given right at the beginning of my journey and it took a while to recognise its wisdom. I now know the importance of not giving up what I love to do – within my physical capabilities of course – and that has had an enormous positive impact on my anxiety and depression.
It’s frightening how useless you can feel when your previously normal day to day activities are suddenly not possible anymore. What a burden you feel on your family and friends, no matter how much they tell you differently.
So for the past few years I’ve done what I can, when I can, and achieved a sort of acceptance of my lot.
This would be the end of the narrative if things would just stay the same, but it’s not that simple. And pain and emotions are intrinsically linked.
There is a pattern of sorts. I’ve even learned to recognise it.
There’s usually a period of time when nothing changes for a while. This is when I am at my most stable, both physically and mentally,
Then the pain increases and when this happens, I slide backwards emotionally until my body plays catch up and sort of ‘absorbs’ the extra pain, or I just accept it as the new ‘normal’. Following this, the whole cycle begins again.
But here’s the cruelest thing. It seems that I’m an eternal optimist! Every-time I have a long period of stability, I can’t help hoping that this is it, maybe this is the worst it will get, and if that is the case I can plan ahead. I can deal with it, I can bear it.
I’m experiencing that increased pain and resulting low mood at the moment, which is why I haven’t posted for a while. I like to write about things that make me happy, and I am trying to stay positive. Panto rehearsals have started again and I have a few cake requests, and I know from experience that I will be ok, but sometimes I need to remind myself of that. And writing it out helps. It might even help someone reading it too.
If you suffer from chronic pain and/or depression, you’re not always going to be a ray of sunshine…and that’s ok. The people who really know you will understand and support you. Hopefully with the increasing awareness of mental illness, others will too.
Stay safe and healthy
P.S When life gives me lemons, I make…..lemon cake (you didn’t think there wasn’t going to be a cake did you?)
P.P.S Thank you to the friend who asked me to make this a couple of weeks ago. It got me off my backside!