Thursday, 17 July 2014

Wrecking Ball

We know that come tomorrow
None of this will be here
So hold tight to your anger, hold tight to your anger
And don’t fall to your fear.

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

I wrote not so long back about my new fitness regime and how it had begun to help with the various Fibromyalgia symptoms. I’ve been ill for too long to have expected lasting improvement – chronic means chronic, after all – but I would have liked things to have lasted a little longer than they did.

The frustrating thing is just how much better I became. I had more energy than usual and whilst the usual pain symptoms were still present I certainly felt the sense of well being that comes with being generally fitter. Though still ill and having rough days I was significantly more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for want of a better phrase.

However, for the last couple of months I’ve barely been able to exercise at all. The workout DVDs are gathering a fine layer of dust in the living room and don’t look like moving soon. I have attempted to break the cycle a couple of times, but on both occasions ten minutes into the workout I was overcome with the feeling of needing to be violently sick. This didn’t happen but it would be idiotic to try and push past that sensation.

I’m not completely immobile – I’ve still been getting to work and pottering about in the evenings and at weekends but I miss the sense of structure and purpose. Taking up something like the 30 Day Shred again would be so ridiculous as to be laughable at the present time. I just don’t have the energy and attempting to fight this, as I’ve covered, does not lead to pleasant results.

I first noticed this oncoming phase when we went on holiday to Wiltshire at the end of June. We were blessed with sunny and hot weather but I think this further highlighted the problem – it was the sort of muggy heat that saps energy. Whilst we had a lovely time and went to some really lovely places – we’re both history nerds, and Wiltshire is the sort of old the dinosaurs had already forgotten about - I struggled with energy constantly. In hindsight I managed to do quite a lot considering, but it was never without the feeling of needing to collapse in the shade fairly regularly. Still, it was nice to get away and I’d go back to the area in a heartbeat.

(Not giving a monkey's at Barbury Castle - right up until my knees gave up a couple of hours later anyway.) 

So, the break did not improve things as you would usually expect it would. I’ve then been in the process of changing jobs again due to circumstances beyond my control and I suspect this has piled on the pressure on top of my already depleted resources. It never rains and all that.

So, at the moment I’m walking eight miles a day with a couple of train rides in between to get to work. I probably don’t need to illustrate the fact I’m back on the routine of come home in the evening, eat, sleep and repeat. The walk will have to do as my exercise for the foreseeable future because short of a miracle I will be summoning neither the energy nor the will to do anything further. For now, I give up.

Giving up. What an unpleasant phrase. However, there comes a time when you have to be sensible and recognise the difference between giving up because you can’t be bothered and conceding defeat because it’s the most sensible and healthy thing to do.

I am slowly coming round to the idea that I think my general health and fitness will work in cycles like this. For every phase of relative good fitness and energy levels I’ll have a corresponding low period. It’s undeniably frustrating because it means I can’t build fitness beyond a certain level before I have to let it slide again, but hopefully with perseverance it will creep up a little each time.

I really could moan about this, but on reflection I think the important thing to remember is that I could be without those good phases at all, and plenty of chronic illness patients are. Right now, it’s a bad patch and doesn’t look like letting up any time soon. Maybe Petunia didn’t like Stonehenge and Avebury very much (tasteless swine).

However, I had a phase of a couple of months where I was unusually well preceding this, and they’ve occurred infrequently before. That means with any luck it will reoccur again. I’m hopeful that once the situations of the job and the new house are sorted out I might settle down a little bit, but if I don’t then so be it. Petunia is as Petunia does after all.  

So in terms of my fitness, slow and steady will jolly well have to win the race, and as for those elusive "well" periods, they provide something (however tenuous) that can always be looked forward to. I'll take my small victories gratefully.

What do you do in your corresponding good/bad phases? How do you approach the fact that your health never stays the same?

Wishing you all many spoons xxx


  1. Ah, it's so hard. The lack of consistency is something I really struggle with. About a month ago I had some family stay with me for 6 days and it meant getting up hours earlier than usual, walking miles every day and generally doing way more than usual. Initially I felt fantastic, and was full of ideas of how I was going to walk every day and feel amazing.

    Of course, a week later the fatigue bit me on the arse and is still affecting me now. Sadly I'm at a point where the good phases are smaller and smaller and the flares last months. Anything I do to try to improve my situation (better nutrition, more exercise) only lasts so long as the extra effort inevitably wears on me. I have to make do with doing what I can when I can, but it's incredibly frustrating.

    Perhaps the most annoying thing of all though, is the way I so easily forget how crap things are when I have a good couple of days, and vow that life will be so different henceforth. If nothing else it proves I'm an eternal optimist! x x

  2. Yup, I echo what yourself and Leah have said. I started Zumba last year and LOVED it. I had so much more energy. They stopped for the summer last year and when they came back in September, I was just too bad to go back. I had my Gall Bladder out in October and since they did open surgery, I haven't been right since. Having my son played havoc with my Fibro/CFS and I've found this other op has done exactly the same. I've put on 2 stones in as many months sat in at night feeling sorry for myself eating chocolate. I REALLY need to break the cycle, but I feel so low about it all, I keep falling back into the comfort eating.

    Dammit. I WILL get back to as healthy as I can. xxx