Sunday, November 25, 2012

Too Much or Too Little?

Well, another month has snuck by without any posts.  It seems as if it is all I can do just to get through each day.  By last Wednesday, I was definitely not doing well on all levels, physical, emotional, and psychological, so I decided I would have a holiday break doing as little as possible.  I am never sure how to figure out how much is too much but by last Wednesday there was no doubt that there had been too much.

One of the biggest problems I find in dealing with chronic issues, especially chronic pain, is knowing when I should just kick myself in the backside, figuratively, and get on with things and when I should simply rest.  And my artistic temperament causes natural highs and lows as I work creatively.  Earlier this month, I wrote my second novel.  It just took off with me and it wrote itself in a flurry of days where I was writing 4-6 hours at a time.  I didn't feel tired (well until the end of each day's writing) and I ignored my pain and I was on an adrenaline high, thrilled with how the novel was just pouring out of me.  In twelve days I wrote 57,427 words and had a finished first draft.  Then the next day my first proof copy of my first novel arrived and that was another high which kept me going for a week or so as I worked on finding the few goofs and sending off my corrections.

In and around all this, I kept on with my tutoring and volunteering at Student Link.  But by last Wednesday I was more than ready for time off.  I have spent all of the Thanksgiving holiday break reading.  I read a five novel series by Patricia Wrede, The Lyra Novels, which I really enjoyed and then I started on a Robin Hobbs trilogy The Rain Wilds Chronicles, also wonderful.  I have thought about quilting.  I have thought about planning my book of haiku.  I have thought about revising my second novel.  But I have done none of that.  I have snuggled into my recliner and read with one or two cats in my lap and the dogs at my feet.

As I mentioned earlier, my innate artistic temperament means that I have a melancholic nature and I need to watch for the signs that indicate I am slipping into depression.  In addition, both Hashimoto's Thyroid Disorder and Fibromyalgia have depression as one of their main symptoms, and of course chronic pain also causes depression.

I worry that "doing nothing" could aggravate the situation.  I have always been a do-er and it is hard for me to be idle.  I had it drummed into me from an early age that it wasn't acceptable just to be; one always had to be doing.  For most of my life that has been possible, and indeed I think my various activities have helped in my battle with depression.

But now I'm not so sure where the line is between doing enough to keep the depression away and doing too much to cause the depression to worsen because my other health issues are being neglected.  So this weekend is going to be a test case.  I shall see if I am in better shape when I return to the "real world" on Tuesday as a result of my very restful five days.  I suspect my juggling act between too much and too little will continue for the remainder of my life, but I hope that with time I will be able to judge more easily where the line between the two lies on any given day.


  1. The balancing act, called life, is so huge for all of us. ANd for people, like you, like me, like too many others, people that suffer with pain day in and day out, Hour after hour is can be very difficult. And exhusting. Depression is a bit like fog. It seeps in, envolopes us, often slowly, leaving us chilled and sometimes lost. It lifts, the sun shines in. Morning comes, and with it more fog. Its fingers wrapping us, hiding us from ourselfs and others. We wrap up in a warm jacket to fight off the chill, and then are too warm as the fog silently slips away.
    We are warm, and cold. Sad and happy. Too busy or not enough. You have asked me, many times, why I don't slow down, work less, and part or prehaps a lot of the answer lies in your blog. If I sit, my 'pain' my 'fog' quickly surrounds me. THick and heavy, wet and cold. I 'work' because because to not do so, well soon I could not move. Both phsyically and metaphoricly. There are no answers to your asked and unasked questions. However this i do know, to do nothing is to die. The other thing I know, and you have often told me this, and I am learning this lesson, abeit it is difficult, to ask for help. To reach out when you need or want something or someone. We could have a long disscussion on this, but this is not the time or place....
    Learning to pace one's self is perhaps the hardest lesson of life. On work levels, on emotional levels. Even something like writing. Its exciting, and fun, and hard work. And you love it, but then its done, and then what fills that 'high'. you are so right about needing balance, and your are also so right how hard it is to achieve. And I also know it really doesn't help, but there are a lot of folks in the same boat.....take care, keep warm and try not to rock the boat...
    more in an email later...
    with love and magic jacket to help keep out the fog....

    1. Thanks, Kathy, for your very thoughtful response and what you say is very true. I know many have the same issues as I do, and for many the symptoms are much worse. I guess what I find the most frustrating is the time lag between when I overextend and when I pay the price for that overextension. That is what makes both the thyroid and the fibromyalgia hardest to deal with. And most of us never really listened to our bodies when we were young and so we abused them and depleted them and now we can't do that anymore. At least I can't. One of the biggest keys for me is diversity and finding activities which I enjoy but which don't take such a physical toll, and that after all is what most retirees have to find. It is just part of the aging process. Thanks again for your insight into the problems and your excellent reply to my post. Hugs!

  2. I agree with everything Kathy said.

    1. Thanks, Lydia, and so do I. Have a lovely day!