Are you ever in so much pain that you can't even begin to comprehend what to do to help yourself?
I know I get to the point where the pain is so consuming that my brain simply won't work and I have no answers to pull out of my bag. Where do I start? What do I do? I can't move. I can't speak. I just want to cry.
Flare-ups are common amongst chronically ill people; they don't mean you've failed, you've just had a setback. Don't beat yourself up over what you've done wrong or why you've had a flare, but try to recognise any triggering incidents, that way you can do things differently next time. For example, I know that if I type constantly for more than five minutes, my hands and wrists start to hurt and my shoulders slump, resulting in dislocations. I'm mindful of the time I spend at my laptop and take regular breaks, even if it's just to rest my hands on my lap for a couple of minutes.
Having a flare-up plan has made such a huge difference for me. The last thing I can do when I'm in so much pain I'm considering chopping my leg off is think rationally. Let's face it, I'm not the most logical person round these parts. I know I'm in pain, I know where the pain is coming from but I don't know what to do about it. Well, at least I didn't before I had a flare-up plan.
The first thing I do is highlight the problem and then see what strategy I can use that will best deal with the problem. It's simple really.
Everyone's plan will be completely different but it's a great idea to keep it close-by for times of need. It doesn't only help me in foiling a flare-up, but also provides my loved ones with information on how best to assist me.
Above is only part of my plan as an example and I hope it gives you an idea on things to include in your plan. Your problem could be cooking and the solution ready meals; problem: housework, and the solution: pacing better or asking for help.
There are various strategies to use and it's much easier to have a plan than trying to think on the spot when you're faced with a problem and can't concentrate fully.
If you have any questions or want to discuss various approaches, please leave me a comment or get in touch via Twitter.