I have an autoimmune disorder.
While my flare ups are not as frequent as they were in my teens and 20s, when they happen, an intentional shift in priorities and practices is required to heal.
Often stress induced, my disorder creates mostly invisible symptoms to the outside world.
The fatigue is crippling yet the medication to help induces insomnia.
For a long time, I would persevere and pretend nothing was wrong. This prolonged each flare up but I maintained an air of invincibility.
I used to call that a win.
1. I am learning to ask for help.
2. I rearrange my schedule to prioritize rest.
3. I say no, even to a walk for ice cream or to the park with my family, so I can heal.
Here’s a glimpse of what I experienced in a recent flare up, in addition to the “invisible” physical pain:
I forgot words, especially names, even of people I know. (This is fun at a new school meeting new parents and teachers!)
Mindless tasks suddenly became mind filled, like not remembering how to do my bathroom routine. (My hair is still clean if I use body wash)
I sat down at the dinner table with a fork in each hand, both for me, as the rest of the table was set.
If we’re willing to listen, our bodies tell us what we need.
For me, a flare up is warned by a unique tension in my neck and slightly blurry vision. The key for me is to pay attention.
When my body says rest, rest.
It’s not a mark of failure. It’s not a mark of laziness.
It’s prioritizing me so I can be my best self again.
What is your body telling you right now?
📸 Picture: mid-flare up lying down with my girls outside in the sunshine (decorative picture flare courtesy of my oldest as it was all I could do to be attentive so my phone was our activity)