Shut Up and Eat the Raisin!!

Yes.  I’ve been quiet here lately.  To be honest (to the worry of my friends and family…my Mom in particular) I’ve been quiet in general.  My mind has been a jumbled mess of random, incomplete thoughts that I can’t seem to get out verbally, or in writing, and its lead to a somewhat silent period in my life. So, I’m doing my best now to pull my thoughts together, at least for this blog entry.

My husband and I have been busy lately getting our house on the market and searching for a new home.  So far we’ve seen a house where someone has been murdered, a mini Playboy mansion (oh my…the mirrors), some strange carpet and wall color choices and a ceiling anyone over 5 feet 9 inches wouldn’t fit under.

It’s a full time project and, of course, it’s coming with Fibro worries.  The main worry…How we’re going to move.  Throw me in a Zumba room and I can give all my energy for hours.  Have me lift some boxes and I’m a mess for days.  We’re only two people, but the mass amount of “stuff” we’ve gathered into a two bedroom house is haunting me.  The bull-headed side of me wants to just suck it up and move the dang boxes, but I know I can’t.  I’m hoping we can pull friends and family out of the wood-work to help!  Hint hint!

That’s worry number one…

Worry number two…

I have a SERIOUS inability to handle chaos.  The house sale came with a necessary new paint job to our kitchen and when I came home from work to find our kitchen torn apart, my anxiety went into over-load.  What is this weird fibro problem anyway???  Being over-stimulated, whether it be with noise, smells, or in this case…a mess, my fibro goes into overload.  Pain, fog, anxiety, which all seems to end up in fibro induced panic attack.  This is quickly ruling out any “fixer-upper” houses and putting an un-wanted limit on our options.

Many more worries to come, which leads to the raisin…

My first “homework” assignment from my psychologist came from a book he recommended.  The book is “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook” by Bob Sthal and Elisha Goldstein. The exercise they recommend is to eat a raisin (or another type of food) and pretend that you’re from a different planet and this is the first time you’ve ever seen/smelled/tasted a raisin.  You are supposed to take your time and listen to the sound the raisin makes in your hands, the smell, the texture, how it tastes, feels in your mouth, etc.  The goal is to clear your mind and think of nothing but the raisin, focus on something other than your stress and anxiety.  It’s a first step to meditation.

It sounds simple, but it’s actually harder to do then I thought.

My first attempt was to eat a chip.  But after the first bite, I realized how hungry I was and inhaled the bag like I hadn’t eaten in a week.  Fail.

Ok, try something with more texture and may take longer to eat.  String cheese. First string pulled, same problem.  So hungry….two sticks of string cheese gone in about three bites each.  Fail number two.

So yes, I’ve got to stop trying this when I’m so hungry.

So far, all I’ve had is two fails and a major craving for raisin brand.

My paranoia has become a major issue.  Paranoia about my job and an illogical fear of getting fired.  Paranoia about my friendships and their stability.  Paranoia about having pain and fatigue and how it will affect my days.   It’s a constant feeling of “people are out to get me.”  Much to my surprise and relief, this is apparently a very common symptom of chronic pain conditions.  It seems no one really knows why this happens for sure.  There is some strange connection between the body and the brain that triggers this when the body is stressed.  From what I’ve read, this symptom fades as the condition that causes it fades, but this leads us back to the ever frustrating analogy you can use with Fibro.  What came first?  The chicken or the egg?  What came first?  The physical pain or the mental pain?   The only solution I see to this is to treat both. 

So when it comes down to it, I need to keep doing what I’m doing physically working my body, and in the meantime…

Shut up and eat the raisin!!

It won’t be like the past, It won’t be like the past…

Friday morning, my wake-up call was answering text messages from work.  Normally I should be annoyed by this on my day off, but it was a nice distraction this particular morning.  I had to get in the shower and be on my way to my first counseling appointment at 10 and I was procrastinating.

I find it ironic that I felt anxious about going, since my purpose for going is to help find help for my anxiety. 

*It won’t be like the past, it won’t be like the past.  I hated those doctors.  This one will be good…right??*

I was relieved when I walked into the office for many reasons.  First, it was quiet and there were very few people in the waiting room.  *Good…Maybe this means I won’t have to wait and wait for my appointment.*   Second, I filled out the usual paperwork and was relieved to see a certain question on it.

“Are there any special instructions you would like the Doctor to know before your appointment today?”

*Why yes, actually…Please please please understand I can’t take anti-depressants…please?*

I had a few minutes of waiting and found it humorous that the other person in the waiting room was reading a magazine article titled “Are you Normal or Nuts?”    *hehe*

It was my turn to go in.  The doctor came to greet me and we made the walk back to his office.  We passed a room set up for children’s counseling.  In the corner of the room were what looked like kitty litter boxes.  My first thought…They have cats???  Maybe it’s for therapy?? Pet therapy??  That would be nice for the kids.  What about the smell, don’t they worry??

*Duh Jennifer, those are sand boxes for the kids to play in while they’re talking….sheesh…cats**

We made it to the office and much to my surprise, I let my guard down and word vomit spewed out quicker than I think the Doctor could keep up with, all while obsessively staring at a poster on his book shelf that said “No Whining”, which I found funny and kind of insulting all at the same time.

Reasons why I have good feelings about this guy…

He seemed fully supportive to not use anti depressants and anti anxiety medication. 

He didn’t want to dwell with what happened in my past due taking those medications.  What happened, happened.  It’s over, and I don’t want to talk about it in counseling anymore.

One of his first recommendations was meditation and breathing exercises, exactly what I’m looking for. *On a side question…Is it completely racist of me that I was a little surprised to hear that from and older white man? *

He said if I can lose 120 pounds, I can beat this.

Most importantly, he acknowledged the connection of my anxiety with my pain and with fibromyalgia…*whew*

So I have homework….diving into meditation and some books he recommended.  This isn’t easy. 

While I do my part, he plans to do his.  Work on trying to make me less of a perfectionist (When I told both my husband and Mom this, they laughed…out loud), not be as hard on myself, and working through anxiety.  He also seemed responsive to working through my insecurities I’ve developed since my fibro has developed.  Fibro fog, forgetting words, not being able to spit out coherent sentences, blah blah blah.  It, by no means, helps the anxiety.

I’m ready to dive into this and I hope I can sit down tomorrow and get into some of his reading recommendations …and not over-think it…hmmm….we’ll see how this goes!!