Monday, August 6, 2012

This will not be my Kryptonite!

Since today was a rather busy day for me at work I am pretty pooped, and don't really have anything amusing or personally PA related to share.  I thought for today I would share some of my own tips, tricks, motivators, and crutches that get me through the days, weeks, month, years.  Because this disease is so individualized I realize that there are no universally applicable tricks, but maybe something will give you a new method to try.

One place on the net that I have found inspirational and informative is the "But You Don't Look Sick" web site and the Spoon Theory.  This place is a gold mine of greatness not specifically for PA sufferers, but anyone who has an illness that is "invisible" from the physical and mental plethora of diagnosis.  The message boards are a great place to find support and information or just to vent on a bad day.  Even if that bad day has nothing to do with your illness.

Find a brain activity that you love.  Mine is reading.  I can read for days.  In fact I can forget to shower and eat because I have gotten so engrossed in a book.  One of the problems I have found with chronic pain is the sensory overload that is caused from constant activity of my nerves responding to pain.  Reading doesn't stop pain, but it does distract me from it to some degree.  I sympathize with the problem of pain being so distracting that you can't focus, but I started small.  I committed to reading an hour a day.  No matter how much pain I was in or how distracted I was because of it I would get through that hour.  Now once I get started I can usually zone out some of the pain because I am focused on the book. This works for me versus say watching TV because I have to be actively mentally involved.  It doesn't end up being white noise (like TV) that I space out through or pretty much ignore because I am focused on my pain.

Find a "beauty routine" that makes you feel pretty/handsome.  For me it's giving myself a manicure/pedicure.  I might feel like my skin is gross on any given day, but my nails are fantastic!  Before my skin got really bad I went to the salon for a manicure and they said my nails looked like acrylics.  I spend a lot of time on my nails in the scope of all my other beauty "routines".  I am one of those girls that can be up, showered, dressed and out the door in less than 20 minutes.  I do look forward to my me time with my nail polish.  Sometimes I really splurge and have a good long soak in the tub before my mani/ pedi.  At any rate, I get a lot of compliments on my finger and toe nails despite the scales.  The added bonus is that it covers up the ridges and psoriasis I have under my nails as well.

Comfort foods!  Many people have food triggers for their psoriasis.  I am fortunate that I don't seem to have any.  It is just bad all the time.  Sometimes the most basic comforts are the greatest thing ever.  Whether it's mashed taters or ice cream if it gives you comfort it can't be a bad thing in moderation. 

Be your own health advocate.  This is one thing it took me a while to figure out.  So many Dr's have told me how my body is supposed to be behaving or reacting.  I've been in this body for 40 years and I know what is not "normal".  Be aware of what therapies are out there.  If your Dr isn't interested in allowing you to try new, holistic, or different treatments, or stop, start or change medications because they know what's best for you and your body, it may be time to find a new Dr.  I'm not discounting any Dr's expertise.  We pay them the big bucks because they are the experts, but YOU are the expert on your body.

Allow yourself to have a bad day.  I hate to fixate on how PA affects my life, but some days it's good to just let it all out.  When I had cable I'd spend a day watching Lifetime movies and Reality TV shows.  The lifetime movies allowed me to cry.  I am not a cryer, but put on one of those movies and the flood gates open.  The reality TV lets me see that my life isn't the worst train wreck going.  I might be scaly, sore and irritable, but I'm not on Jersey shore.  I also have a venting friend.  She has pain issues as well so we let each other complain with no holds barred.

Finally find your joy.  We all have something that no matter what happens in life there is something that universally brings us a level of happiness.  Whether it's your family, your pet, the color purple, or a special place in your youth, find something that you can think about that brings you peace and happiness.  Multiple things are even better!  When your having a bad day have that picture of your favorite beach you found shells on as a child and remember how much you loved that.  Don't think about the future, your pain, your frustration or anything else.  Think about joy.

I am sure there are many others, but these are a few things that work for me.  What are yours?