Jul. 10th, 2015

badgerbag: (Default)
Negative thinking patterns:

* My pain is terrible!
* I can't bear it! How long must this go on?
* I shouldn't have so much pain. I don't deserve this.
* I simply have to find some relief now!
* Why can't they make my pain go away?
* I'm going crazy! When will this all end?
* I'm going to be an invalid. I can hardly do anything any more
* I'll never get better
* This is going to get worse and worse
* No one else can really understand this pain
* It's all my fault that I'm in this mess

Frankly today every time I felt the pounding headache on top of the pain and a feeling of breathlessness or dizziness and tried to sleep I thought, what if this is actually dying and I am about to die? Ridiculous!!! No I am not. I have a super clear cut, easy to diagnose, obvious and self-limiting thing wrong that will likely be better in a week or so!

Realistic thinking (rational)

* The extreme pain is back again, but I know that it is only temporary
* By relaxing my muscles I can make my pain more bearable
* I can take a bit more rest today between activities. Tomorrow I'll do more regular activity routine
* I want to do something pleasant today as a distraction
* I can keep my breathing as deep and even as possible and this will reduce my experience of pain
* Bad days are to be expected, we all have them. I may as well enjoy what there is to enjoy, even on the bad days
* I can stay in control of the rest of my life, even when I have this pain
* Things are going slowly but in the right direction

More about thinking errors or irrationalities (or simply unproductive/unconstructive lines of thinking)
* Blaming. Blaming self, others, an incident, decision to do something
* "Should" statements. I shouldn't have been rushing, I shouldn't react to pain like this
* Polarized thinking. I'll never be able to cope, the pain will never go away (extremes)
* Catastrophizing: Thinking of the worst outcome. What if?
* Control fallacies: Either that I, or someone else, is in control of the pain. This doctor will be the one to help!
* Emotional reasoning: I'm taking too long to heal, so I must be doing something wrong.
* Filtering: Only seeing the bad things. Ignoring the good bits.
* Entitlement fallacy: Why do i have to go through this? I'm too young to be sick. I don't deserve this
* Overgeneralizing: I tried to do this x times, and it didn't work and it will never work. Today is bad, tomorrow will be worse
* Mind reading: making assumptions about other people's thoughts and intentions behind their actions.

They all blur into each other a bit!

I slip in and out of this kind of thinking a lot. I talk about it here and in person and on FB maybe a little intensely when things are bad. This helps me to get to the more rational or constructive or happy state of mind where I think of the good aspects of my life (which are MANY) and day to day pick up on the things that I enjoy that make life good.

Today I rested a lot more, i experimented with setting off my "5 minute power nap" alarm and closing my eyes and doing lots of deep breathing (hard, because distraction makes pain easier to endure)
I felt very appreciative yesterday and today of nice chats with friends over the course of the day. (Yesterday Sarah and today TW) How I appreciate that!! I had nice food. I got myself flowers delivered from Instacart. I sat out on the front porch for a few minutes here and there to look at the world and people passing by. I enjoyed just reading DW, FB, and twitter and idling through information and I read book 2 of the Bloody Jacky series. (trashy and silly but good for my state of mind)

In between those nice things and appreciating them, I fought the sorts of demons listed above. A big one for me is worrying that I was doing so well at work and now this will somehow ruin it and ruin how everyone thinks about me. In response to these thoughts I read the pain survival guide book and tried to think of good examples of people praising me at work.

I wrote to my therapist (had to cancel today's appointment, going out seems very difficult). She replied, "Remember, though, that it is very unlikely that there will be any problems with your work for you caring for yourself. Challenge those thoughts—do you have any evidence that people would rather you suffer through pain than work from home and care for yourself? You are a valued member of your community. Be gentle with how you talk to yourself!" She is a nice and smart therapist. I can read that, and think it, and believe it for a bit, and then I think again, But what if this is the thing that ruins everything? The thing that helps best is the words, Do you have any evidence. No I do not. That is solidly rooted in reality.

I hope I can work next week. Maybe short days. Meds or pain, either may make that just not possible.

My doctor suggested increasing the gabapentin from 300mg 3x daily (which I started a few days ago) to 900mg 3x daily. Yikes. I don't love gabapentin. It seems to help a bit and yet it makes me feel dull and groggy and slow. In the past, when I have taken it for extended periods of time it backfires and I end up with the "electric shock" nerve pains and shaking hands.

So, plan. Increase meds tonight. Do the "power widget" phone naps frequently tomorrow. In between power naps, do very small sets of physical therapy exercises, and enjoy life with food and books. D. will be home and it is his birthday. I can't do anything much for that but it will be a treat to just be together all day without work pressure and without anyone else. he can program or fiddle about with things or play elite.

then sunday, take a cab to my sister's, which is a big house so i can lie on a couch with no one touching me or jostling me and just chill out with her cats for her bday and that will be the family/party day. (only problem is napping would be hard, and there are stairs to get in, and cab ride will be painful) They could all come here but it would be harder i think to be in our house with so many people. (We do that often and it's nice, but i'm too much in pain to cope well with the closeness and chaos)

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