Sunday, September 9, 2012

Doing Things -- Over-Doing Things

It's good to know one's limits. It is even better to respect those limits.

I started with the HealthPlex on the 5th. Which is great, I've found that physical activity is really the best method of pain control for me. And this facility takes a health assessment first, then they are so nice as to design a workout just for you! based on your strengths but also -- yes -- your limits.

I got this plan on the 5th, and while it was recommended to me that I do only two sets of eight reps at varying weights dependent on the machine to start with and gradually work my way up, by Friday (the 7th -- my second day of doing the weight circuit), I decided it was not only time to increase the weight, but also double the number of reps I did for each set. And since my muscles were so tight ("huh, that's odd...") I decided to take a stretching class in the aerobics room afterward. Oh, did I mention the 10 minute cardio warm up and 10 minute cool down I'm to do before and after the weight circuit so my muscles don't get tight? Except my "cool down" was 10 minutes on the stationary bike going kinda fast (like my heart rate at 145bpm).

In fact, the trainer that did my assessment was a bit concerned that I seemed to be doing too much too soon...

...what does he know?


I have this habit of throwing myself, unrestrained, into new and exciting things. Into things I am passionate about. Into things that show any glimmer of promise into helping myself or others find relief or comfort or joy.

The only problem with this is that I tend to do this at the mercy of my own health. I forget that I am medically "fragile" yet. I get so full of this mental energy and my body simply cannot keep up. The comments from others ("you look so much better!) fuel the frenzy and I believe for however long that I am super human. That I may have been very ill for a long time but now its only taken fourteen seconds to recover from whatever I was sick from and I'm all better! now.

When dealing with a chronic illness, slow and steady wins the race. I know that is frustrating to hear. In fact, I myself do not accept this most of the time. I push myself so hard thinking it will put me ahead because you can get it if you really want it if you just try, try, try. But really, when I push it too hard I end up going backwards.

Talk about frustrating. So be patient, friends, whatever your struggles or limits are. There are things that can change and improve your life, but 9/10 times they will come to fruition s l o w l y. That does not jive well in a society that gets impatient when a microwave meal takes two minutes to cool off before they can eat it (haha that's funny because I cannot eat, but I digress...). We are bombarded with magazine ad's that shout "INSTANT RESULTS", with gimmicky "energy" shots and drinks that promise quick results, with a long duration, and no crash later. We are inundated with messages that everything should happen quickly, if not instantly. So really, it is no surprise that so many of us struggling with chronic conditions get frustrated when progress is slow. Or stagnant. Or, God forbid, regressing. We begin to wonder what is wrong with us.

I was out with a friend yesterday and it was really meant to be a brief visit. I had requested to go home after I'd been there for two hours and she ended up not taking me home three hours later. She kept saying I could lay on her couch, but I really needed my pain medicine, none of which I had on me, and when you don't feel well you just want to be home. By the time I got home I was in so much pain that cough-retch-vomit thing commenced for two hours. So even our friends sometimes misunderstand small steps on Recovery Road to mean that we are all of the sudden capable of everything anyone else can do.

So when you're out there, giving it your all, and you still don't feel like you are measuring up to anyone's standards (especially your own) remember:

Your best is always good enough

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