Day 7: TUI… Talking Under the Influence

Do you TUI? I was thinking in the car today about the effect pain has on my communication. I realized I TUI, “Talk Under the Influence” and that’s not really a good thing. I’m talking about under the influence of PAIN. Sometimes it’s mental pain, but most of the time it’s physical. I get that there are not a lot of moments when I am not in some kind of pain. I try to manage my way through and be the best person I can, but being my “best” does not always result in … well… even a “decent” conversation by any standard.

So what happens? Most the time I fake my way through conversations, I have talked about that before. That works in most situations. Where it doesn’t work is in my relationship with my family. I generally muddle through and after think to myself, “Why did I say that?” or better still, “What did I just say?”. These moments are not fun for anyone. Reacting in a negative way to a simple question or blowing up over nothing… a better word to use would be – OVER reacting. In this situation everyone is frustrated. My kids look at me like I’m an alien from another planet, while I’m wondering (in the moment) “What the HELL is going on??”. I know I’m under the influence when the conversation goes:

Me: Please go XYZ

Child: ok

Me (5 minutes, okay maybe 2 minutes later): Why haven’t you XYZ?

Child: Chillax mom

Me: WHAT? What did you say to me? Why are you talking to me like that? Why haven’t you done what I told you to? When are you going to do it? Screw it. You’re grounded!

Child: Why do you always get so mad at me? I didn’t even do anything!

Me: … well words can’t really explain how I feel at that moment, mostly I think my heads going to pop off my neck at that point… until about 10 minutes later when I’m sitting there, alone. Wondering… wondering what the hell just happened.

Talking Under the Influence can really hit at anytime. I don’t usually know I’m doing it. The most telling factor is when I’m mid-sentence or mid-thought and I forget what I’m saying or even what the conversation is about. I can’t figure out the next word. Foggy brain in the purest form.

I get that relationships are challenging under normal circumstances. Add in a chronic illness, both pain and depression, and it’s not really a recipe for success. It takes patience and hard work. Work requires energy, which most of the time is non-existent (I’m talking about never having energy… work? That’s always there!). A pretty dismal picture when you think about it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to give up at times. You have to really play the entire movie out at this point… so…. you throw in the towel, what do you have left? In my case, I’d lose my support system… but most importantly I’d lose the love of my life. Is it possible to start over or maybe even… refresh a relationship? To give up, to me, means that I have let this shit win. I won’t allow that. I realize most relationships end over issues with communication. I know this is always going to be a challenge, given our circumstances… the bottom line is I have a choice. I have a choice whether or not to give up and walk away (albeit slowly walking with a cane) or to fight for what is important and totally and completely worth saving. Don’t give in to those bad moments, step away and start over and try again. I have to keep the faith and fight (crazy expression… fight, that’s what got me into this situation to begin with, isn’t it? :).

It’s challenging to live life within the rules, dreams and goals I have for myself, when this outside shit keeps wanting to take over. I can have a great day, get out and about and have a fun joy-filled day… almost always, the following few days are filled with pain reminding me what I have… as if I’d forget. It’s most difficult to keep my head up during those days. I get angry and frustrated and it certainly doesn’t motivate me to keep going. I can spiral down that slide to the bottom of the well, far easier than I can climb myself out of it. It’s non-nonsensical. It’s important to keep perspective. What do I have in my life? I have family and friends who love me, I have the best kids in the world (I really do) and a wonderful husband. Things are tough and will be tough, once again it’s how you get through this shit that makes the difference.

I may TUI, but if the people around me realize what I’m working with, I just keep praying they’ll continue to love and support me. Keep in mind, if you can look back and realize the moments when you TUI, it may help you understand where things may have gone wrong in a conversation. Admitting that out loud to the people who you have had those conversations with… well, that’s another story! :)

Best of luck. Thanks for reading!

Gentle hugz.


What Would It Take To Make A Change In Your Life?

“I can’t WAIT for this week to get over!”… I hear myself saying that during the work week a lot. The week-end comes and I spend a lot of it in laying down trying to relax and get re-energized for Monday. I sleep, I sleep a lot over the week-end so I can be ready for Monday. What happens on Monday? I work and spend that time wishing for the week-end. Does this make sense to anyone? It’s crazy. I spend Monday thru Friday waking up at 5:30 or 6, sometimes 7 if I’m lucky, roll out of bed, quietly creep down the stairs, make some coffee and start working. I don’t usually stop working until 6 or 7 at night. I may take a few minutes to eat lunch during the day and a few minutes at night for dinner with the family. I will then work until 8 or 9 some days and then watch t.v. and go to sleep around 10 or 11 depending on my pain and just doze for hours off and on until the morning when I do it all over again. During the days Monday thru Friday I am in a lot of pain. By Friday I am in a lot lot of pain, but that’s what I do I, I work.

Yesterday I started thinking, if I had a year to live, what would I do differently? I mean, seriously… what would I do differently? What about 6 months? A month? What would it take to really make a change in my life? ? I always say tomorrow is not promised, so why do we always live like it is promised?

Right now my life is all consumed with working to pay the bills and I work, work, work. I work all the time. I work so much that nothing else happens in my life. I have fibromyalgia. Wait, let me say that again. I have Fibromyalgia with a big “F”. I don’t let this condition rule my life, but let’s not take this lightly. It does make a statement and it does affect my life and that of my family, so I should make sure I give it some respect here. Back to what I was saying. I have Fibromyalgia and with that, at the end of the day between work and being a Fibromite, there’s not a lot of me left to go around. The energy has been spent and there is definitely nothing left.

Is it possible to work and still have a life, while living with chronic pain? It is not easy. I have it easier than a lot of people. I work from home on most days. I go in the office 15% of the time, maybe 20% in a busy month. I work a lot of hours, which is challenging, 12-14 hour days. So let’s talk about this… Balance is the key to a content life, right? Getting there and staying there probably means being organized – not so easy when you are a fibromite or me (“I’ll take some foggy brain whipped up with a little bit of ADHD to go please“). I love [read hate] those people who are so TOGETHER with their “checklists” and their “tote bags” always on time. Let me stop, I’m not hatin’ on anyone. I keep trying to be together, it just never works out that way. It does, however, give me a reason to buy a new tote bag! But, seriously, I do believe that in order to get through the day, you need to have a serious amount of focus and stop working at a reasonable time and focus on your family life or your health or your personal life. Whatever it is that is important to you. Focus, is not easy when you have foggy brain, it is something that is a constant challenge – I do create my check list and it does help keep me focused (for awhile anyway!).

Live your life as if you only have 6 months to live or whatever amount of time it takes to create a change. I need to really spend some time thinking about this. I think we get complacent and just live. There is so much going on that I just go from one crazy day to another and I need to carve out some time to be still and have time to myself. I have been in a flare for weeks, I need to get on my flare plan and exercise and eat better. Take one thing at a time, not overwhelm myself. What about you? What can you do to manage your pain better?

If today was your last day and you look back on your life, are you happy with all the decisions you have made? What changes would you make? Now’s your chance!

Stay cool! Hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog and come back again. Leave a comment and tell me what you think.