Good tidings, Great pain

Zoe's Christmas celebrations
Zoe's Christmas celebrations

Good tidings, Great pain…

Ah the holiday season!
Some love it and some like me dread everything about it.

I used to love celebrations and always made a big thing of everything and lived for parties as a child and beyond. So what changed?

Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue & Migraines changed.

For those in chronic pain or going through fatigue of any kind will know how difficult all of those little things become. Everything becomes a chore. The shopping, even online. The planning which brings on anxiety. The spending when you can’t work as much. Wrapping presents, cooking, putting up trees, keeping things clean and tidy and showing up dressed up and with hair washed and makeup on. All of it becomes so difficult in the chaos of Christmas & other holidays.

About two weeks prior, the fear starts to set in with the knowledge that the more we give the more our body punishes us, or the more our body gets punished by us. It’s hard to know the difference anymore.

Sleep evades us when we need it the most.

We sit and wait in the darkness for the pain and fatigue to descend. Hoping it’s a level 3 not a level 10. It will likely be a 9.

The joy required to celebrate is very hard to find underneath pain.

The energy required to bring others joy is more than we are gifted with, so we need to take it from our soul.

Well that’s a bit melodramatic, but that is how it feels sometimes.

We need to rest.
Yet we are asked to work even more at work and at home, for ourselves and for others.
Where do these energy reserves come from if not our soul?

Often the stress caused leading up to these holidays is the stress about whether our bodies will hold up. Saying yes to events comes with a level of anxiety at having to let people down if we cannot show up.

Hosting our own events is next level anxiety.

This year I was actually home back in Adelaide Australia and in my own home. So I thought I should really make the effort. It was my favourite cousins 40th Birthday and Christmas so we had it two weeks out before Christmas with our extended family. I felt obligated. Yet no one asked me to do it. I felt like I wanted to do this for my family. It is part of me to go big. Or at least it used to be and I wanted to hold on to that.

What a humbling eye opener when 10 days prior I realised I simply couldn’t do it. I live alone so I had no certainty of help. Even just someone to take the bins out  or go and grab the ice or give the outside a wash down or to organise the drinks. I broke down sobbing to myself in my own self pity feeling like a shadow of my former self. I simply was not strong enough.

A few days prior I had reached out to catering companies and to family members for help and had no positive responses. Which is what bought on the realisation and the tears straight after I had cried out in anguish and frustration and pain. When I was willing to let go and tell everyone I had to cancel is when things started to happen.

My cousin popped around unexpectedly and gave me a hug. (He is a boy and never does this lol). A caterer got back to me, she hadn’t seen my message but she could do it!  (Thank you so much Anna at Graze Events and Gifts) I couldn’t believe it. And the flow started happening.

The day ended up being epic. The catering magical. The kids had a ball. The adults ate far too much. And I was able to enjoy myself for the majority of the day. I am so thankful for that joy and that I was able to afford to have someone help me, which I know a lot of people cannot who live with chronic illness. We all do our best with what we have.

The next day I struggled to get out of bed, so I didn’t.
The day after that I got up and laid on the couch then went back to bed.
The third day I stayed most of the day in bed too.

My head was fuzzy and I couldn’t do a thing.
The pain was overwhelming and sucked all the energy out of me.
I was so hungry for junk food… anything to give me instant energy.
A migraine descended into my body – yes there is such a thing as a body migraine.
I hid from everyone.
I rarely looked at my phone.
I felt bombarded by someone new I was working with when she was simply trying to do her best.
I needed to hide.

Two mornings of this and the construction down the road got LOUD.
Concrete trucks rocking up at 6am, noise, beeping, lots of movement, constant.

Today is the 4th day and when I woke up I felt like my head had cleared somewhat. I got out of bed waiting to for the pain levels to sky rocket but they didn’t. I got ready and thought maybe I will go to a café to get out of the house and away from the noise. Quite often at this point my body says no and I am back in bed, but this time she was ok. I called a friend and we had an impromptu and lovely brekky. I came home happy.

Then the pain descended.
But that is ok. She is part of my life now.
I need to try to keep her out of chaos and into calm yet that cannot always happen. As is life. So I do my best to nurture her and forgive her and myself.

It is very likely I will not make the 40th & 50th parties I have on this weekend. Both will be so fun and I really want to go. But I have no idea if that will happen. I am so conscious of letting people down but am trying my hardest not to let that stress me out even more.

And then next week is Christmas.
I am already fretting about whether I will be able to drive.
I know I will get there somehow and it will be fun. Even if just for an hour.
Or maybe I won’t. I really don’t feel ok about that prospect.

In the meantime I will have a massage today and try to eat well and exercise in the pool. I am very lucky and thankful I have learnt how to support my body in a way that I can.
And I will sleep. Hopefully.

I don’t know what the answer is to get through these times of ‘celebration’ aka chaos. All I know is that we all do our best. We feel invisible when we cannot show up and we don’t want to be a burden to others.

It is important though not to ignore or deny our pain otherwise we only cause more. Knowing our boundaries is the absolute best thing we can do and to honour our bodies and the pain we live with.

For all the warriors out there dealing with pain and fatigue, invisible illness, auto immune disease and more… please be kind to yourselves in the holiday season.

And those of you with children, I simply don’t know how you do it. I applaud you and you are my heroes. Please be selfish too though when you can. Your body needs you.

By acknowledging & sharing our experiences we can help heal ourselves & others…

The healing we receive is unconditional love awareness for body, mind, soul, our loved ones & all humanity

The Wellness Awareness is our bodies are an amazing vehicle for experiences in this lifetime, including pain which is not our enemy but our teacher

The human experience learning is that
awareness transcends pain.

Much Love, Zoë x

Thank you so much Anna at Graze Events and Gifts for the amazing grazing table!