Avoiding Stress

To my Endo Support Club: Thanks for the inspiration!

Also, to my sister who is always supportive.

A couple of weeks ago my sister told me that she meditates every day and she found it to be helpful in her day to day life.  She goes into the closet (which isn’t so odd because their closet is of the “walk-in” variety) and sits cross-legged with her hands on her knees. If you can clear your head and concentrate on just breathing for five minutes, you feel better able to take on the world.  As you know, I’ve never had a problem with feeling like I can take on the world (Final Score: Foxy 1 – World 0!) but I regularly have a hard time relaxing.

In particular, I have a hard time falling asleep when my brain won’t switch off.  My sister said that the best thing to do is gently direct your monkey mind back to your breathing.  I couldn’t help but love the phrase “monkey mind”.  It’s exactly how my brain behaves at night when I’m desperate to go to sleep and it wants to go in 5 different directions at once: What will I wear tomorrow? What food will I cook tomorrow night? When will we next go to see Apollo next? August is too far off really!  Should we go to Greece in November? When will I see Maia? What’s happening at work tomorrow?  Should I give myself another period before my trip to France at the end of April?  What will my biopsy results be? No.  I don’t want to organise a Greek trip until I know what my biopsy results are.  I can’t wear my green dress tomorrow: I don’t have clean black camisole to go with it.  I think I should wear my black jumper with the tan suede skirt – but I might be too hot in that.  Did I boil enough eggs to last me to the rest of the week?   I must remember to check I’ve got enough eggs first thing tomorrow morning.

I know my sister meditates in the morning but, in an effort to try and get some regular sleep, I have been meditating at night.  I used to do some visualisations at the end of yoga lessons so I’m remembering that and trying to calm my mind ready for sleep.  I find sleep is a rare commodity with my monkey mind!

So last night when one of the gals in The Endo Club seemed to be struggling I asked her what she is doing to try to eliminate stress from her life?  The thing about stress is that it silently makes things seem worse than they are.  When we are calm and confident then pain is endured in perspective.  The Club came up with a number of ways to help: listening to music, painting, writing, meditating, etc.

When I talk about endo pain I try and remember to use the word “endure” and not “suffer”.  To my mind, the word suffering implies that we’ve all got the backs of our collective hands up against our foreheads and dramatically falling to a feinting couch whereas endurance implies something that we tolerate – like a long-distance runner, we go through terrible pain to reach the finish line, only to start the process again every new cycle.  Or perhaps a better analogy is the Rock of Gibraltar: we regularly face things that would defeat others, yet there we are standing defiant against the wind, rain and storms.  It’s not easy living with chronic illness, but you can’t let it get on top of you.

Hoping for a pain-free tomorrow!