Reminding. Pacing. Surrendering. Improving. Flowing.

June 2018 Link Up Party with A Chronic Voice

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I came across this Link Up Party by Sheryl from A Chronic Voice on Twitter. Sheryl shares some amazing stories of her own, but is a great support for other bloggers and writers who have a chronic illness and/or chronic pain. I’ve decided to take part in this month’s Link Up Party, and use the prompts in the below image to help give more of an insight into my life with chronic pain.

Full details of the June Link Up Party and other posts are here. If you have a chronic illness or chronic pain why don’t you take part too?

Reminding. Pacing. Surrendering. Improving. Flowing.

Reminding

I’m really excited about my blog at the moment. I’m getting up a few hours before my day job starts to do some blogging work, and I’m also working on it in the evenings. I absolutely love it – it’s a brilliant distraction from my chronic pain and from some other things going on in my life right now, and I’m so motivated and energised by it all. But I need to keep reminding myself that I can only do so much at a time, and not pressure myself to get everything done straight away. When I start to put pressure on myself or sign up to doing too much, then it will add unwanted anxiety and it won’t be fun anymore.

Pacing

Some days I have so much energy that I keep ticking off the things on my to do list ( I love lists and the feeling of being organised, productive and getting things done). I don’t always see this as a bad thing, as I am grateful for feeling this way. People with chronic pain often suffer from fatigue and it can be hard even getting out of bed in the morning. I do suffer from fatigue as a result of my chronic pain, but I am learning to manage things better and pacing is a huge part of this. Overdoing it means I won’t have the energy or focus the next day, or my pain could be worse because if I’ve sat and struggled for too long the day before. Sometimes I have to just listen to my body and be sensible.

Surrendering

When something like chronic pain controls a huge part of your life, it can be challenging to accept and you can often feel defeated by the pain. This can have a huge impact on you mentally. I’m learning to see surrendering to my pain as a positive – an opportunity to do something else I enjoy and that is more important at that time, or just to be more mindful in that moment. For example, I could be working on my blog but sitting and using my laptop is too painful, so I have to lie down. I see this as an opportunity to cuddle my partner and watch TV, or go and read my Kindle in the bath, or get out in the fresh air and go for a walk. Surrendering feels very negative, but it can easily be turned into a positive if we change our mindset.

Improving

I’m one of those people who can always find something to improve on – my knowledge of something, my blog stats and figures, or my skills in something like cooking or writing. At the moment, as silly as it sounds, I am improving my listening skills. My brain has an annoying habit of wandering off or thinking about everything on my ‘to do list’ or what I can do next on my blog. I’ve always been the same, and watching TV programmes or films can be a struggle as I switch off, even for a few seconds, and have no idea what’s going on. I think I’m even worse now because of my chronic pain. My pain can easily be distracting, or I’ll get a sudden twinge and it takes away my concentration from listening to something or someone. When I’m anxious I’m even worse – one of the vicious circles of chronic pain and using my energy on the right things to be able to manage my pain, which you can about in my post Surprising symptoms of chronic pain: anxiety.

Flowing

One of my personality types is a reflector; I generally like to have time to think things through before making decisions or agreeing to something. When I don’t have that time, I can easily say no to something or stay silent because I need time to prepare what I want to say. I’m learning more to just go with the flow of things – flowing, and not over-thinking, can take away the added stress of thinking too much. If I just do something, I don’t have time to over-think and worry about stuff, which means I can be more spontaneous, and I’m more likely to manage my pain better because the anxiety and stress isn’t there causing extra tension in my muscles. It’s easier said than done but I’m trying.

21 thoughts on “June 2018 Link Up Party with A Chronic Voice

  1. JacQueline Roe says:

    “I see this as an opportunity to cuddle my partner and watch TV, or go and read my Kindle in the bath, or get out in the fresh air and go for a walk. Surrendering feels very negative, but it can easily be turned into a positive if we change our mindset.” YES! Doesn’t it make all the difference to allow our chronic issues to drive us to discover wonderful things we might not embrace if not for the pain? This is my first time to participate in the link-up and I’m glad I got to read your blog. Praying today is a good day for you!

  2. Kathy says:

    I enjoyed reading your answers to the prompts, Alice. I don’t think that improving your listening skills is silly at all. I get easily distracted as well, and sometimes I’m so busy thinking about what to say that I miss what is being said. We all probably need to listen better.

    • Alice says:

      Thank you Kathy – I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. And yes, we could all do with listing a bit better. I shouldn’t be too harsh on myself 🙂

  3. Brenda says:

    I think this is good advice for everyone – chronic pain or not. I was reading thinking yeah always too rushed and unrealistic expectations of “to do” lists. Stopping, listening to our bodies. Great post.

  4. Claire Saul says:

    Ali – I love your post for Sheryl’s link up and it rings so many bells with me – i love your Surrendering and was trying to explain this (referring to you) when I was out the other evening. Other people without chronic probs don’t “get” that surrendering/acceptance is not a negative, we are not just rolling over to our pain, but rather accepting it can be liberating in terms of what you can then get on and do with life! OK….i am not going to write any more, I am going to keep my promise to Sheryl and actually do the linky myself this month!!!

    • Alice says:

      That’s exactly right Claire – and sometimes it’s easier to put energy in to accepting the pain and getting on with things than fighting it and feeling drained as a result. Not helpful at all. Looking forward to reading your Link Up post 🙂 x

    • Sheryl says:

      Hehe…don’t feel like you ‘owe’ me anything, Claire! The last thing I want for the linkups to be is for them to feel like a chore to anyone! I hope we all have fun and learn from each other, that is all! xxx

  5. Rhiann says:

    Such a great post and so relatable to many living with chronic illness, and great use of the prompts too!

    I relate so much when talking about surrendering to the pain, at first I thought it sounded mad, but have quickly found that it makes so much less energy when surrendering than when you try and fight against it. Love how you have found ways to help ease the pain when you are listening to it, which can be hard to figure out when ignoring it.

    Look forward to your future posts.

    Take care

    Rhiann x

    • Alice says:

      Thank you Rhiann. I surprised myself with the prompts, I really thought I’d struggle. Looking forward to sharing future posts with you.

  6. Gary Jefferies says:

    Wonderful post Alice. Lots of positive affirmations and coming from someone suffering chronic pain it’s a tremendous thing to read and see. I’ve seen people around me suffer debilitating illness and mental health is so important not to ignore during it. Quality of life depends on that outlook so very much. Blogging, as you mentioned, is a very good way to socialise too. I find you all inspiring and it should make those not siffering step back for a moment and actually consider how fortunate they are and maybe spend a little bit more time in the moment appreciating it. Some already do, many, alas, do not. Anyone can find their lives turned upside down in a moment. I doubt many think about that either!

    • Alice says:

      Thank you Gary 🙂 That was a lovely comment to read. And yes you are right, the thing with disability, chronic illness and chronic pain is that it can affect anyone, out the blue. Things can change when we least expect them too.

  7. Jas says:

    This was so well written and really interesting to read! I don’t know much about chronic illness so it’s so interesting to hear and educate myself.
    Jas xx

  8. Sheryl says:

    Thanks for participating in this month’s linkup! 🙂 I could totally relate to the part on listening skills. My partner says I always cut people off heh. I was thinking about it, and realised it was probably poor short-term memory related, and being worried I forget!

    I also loved your perspective on surrendering, because it’s so true! The saying ‘sweet surrender’ doesn’t come from nowhere 😉 Will link it up to another post of mine as well!

    • Alice says:

      I’m glad I participated – I thoroughly enjoyed writing that post. It really got me thinking differently and was a fun way to write a blog post. I also do the same thing – I cut people off before I forget what I’m going to say! Thanks for linking to your other post. I look forward to next month’s Link Up Party x

  9. Dov says:

    Great reading your post, Ali! And glad I came across your blog through the LinkUP.

    I love what you say about improving listening skills. (Illness can have such varying affects on focusing/listening/ways of being social.) And not pressuring yourself.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Best,
    Dov

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