Chronic pain · Fibromyalgia

Pacing. Mindfulness. Just Slow Down


When I first started this blog, I was writing pretty consistently.  My pain specialist had reintroduced me to writing and I discovered how healing it can be.  It also helped that I was working part-time and freshly practicing skills like pacing, mindfulness, and self care.  Modest as I am, I considered myself a model patient.

The following year, things got a little messier.  I moved cities, started a new job, had a baby, and started a new business.  What should by now have been ingrained, automatic practices – pacing, mindfulness, self care – fell so far by the wayside that when I heard someone talk about pacing, I actually thought “Oh yeah, pacing.  I remember pacing.  I’m supposed to be doing that”.  Not such much the model patient any more.

Now here we are, 2017.  New year, new me?  Let’s take a peak into my drafts folders.  So many part written posts.  So many titles of posts that I leave there under the deluded belief that I will one day find time to write down the million thoughts running through my mind.  Because, let’s face it, that’s what I’m missing here.  Time.

As anyone with a chronic condition can tell you.  Time is no longer your friend.  How can I find the time to take care of myself around an otherwise full daily schedule?  Or, more accurately, how can I find the time to fit in a full daily schedule around taking care of myself?

As any parent can tell you.  Time is no longer your friend.  How can I find the time to take care of another human being, around an otherwise full daily schedule?  Put the two lives together – chronic and parent – and you have one doozy of a time problem on your hands.

Some days (most days), my 7 month old daughter will sleep only in 20 minute intervals, intervals that are few and far between.  Some days (most days), I feel like I’m living my own personal Groundhog Day.  Clean bottles, sterilise bottles, fill bottles, feed baby, play with baby, attempt to get baby to sleep…  While my body automatically works through each step, my mind races with everything I need to get done that day, that week, everything I feel guilty about doing, everything I feel guilty about not doing, everything I don’t have the time to do.

I swear, at any moment my head will explode.   All of the thoughts swirling around in there are fighting, pushing desperately to make their way to the front of the queue.  Now they’re wearing boxing gloves, knocking down each idea, reminder, chore, question, and list (oh, the endless lists!) who dare jump in front of them.

Today however, something silenced the otherwise obtrusive thoughts.  As my daughter woke from her very short nap demanding a bottle, I looked at her, stopped and turned down the volume.  Not too long ago I didn’t think I would ever have children.  While being a mother was something I always knew I wanted, with my health the way it was, it did not realistically look like I would be able to manage pregnancy let alone motherhood.

Now here I am, looking into the cot at my beautiful, healthy, happy 7 month old baby.  And it clicks, I need to stop.  Call it pacing, call it mindfulness, call it whatever you need to for it to make sense to you.  For me,  it simply became clear that I cannot do everything at once anymore.  I cannot do everything in one day anymore.  I don’t need to do everything at once or even in one day.  What I need to do is live in the moment.  Be thankful for my life, as it is.  Not how it once was.  Not how I would like it to be.  Just how it is.  Right now.  Because right now is good.

(PS Yes, my legs hurt, my back hurts, my wrist is playing up again, I’ve got a headache, my jaw is aching, I’m tired beyond tired.  But right now, right now I’m staring at my beautiful, healthy, happy 7 month old baby.  Right now is good.  Right now is great.)

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