For many people with FMS, pain management is a moment-to-moment issue. It often seems like there is a very broom person running the show inside my body. But she only hangs out for a little while these days, she doesn’t run the whole show. What keeps brooms away?
Having a bag of therapeutic tricks is beneficial for anyone with chronic pain. When the going gets tough, this happy little kit is a great thing to dive into. When times of stress exacerbate existing pain levels, it’s time to get out of that bag and work on all the tricks in it.
What I mean by this? All right ……
Did you know that an Epsom salt bath does more than just feel good? It actually removes lactic acid from tired, sore muscles through the skin. Therefore, a 20-minute soak in the tub can literally make a difference in the world. Add some lavender and jasmine essential oils and you have a wonderful opportunity to relax. During the worst of my FMS days, there were days where I was in the bathtub 3 times a day. Sometimes I would call my friends while in the bathtub, especially if I needed help redirecting my thoughts about the pain. Thinking about pain only brings more pain, so I would talk to friends and ask them to save their funny stories and jokes for me at times like these. There were some whom he could call at any time, day or night. There was a time when no one answered the phone. It was 3 in the morning and I felt desperate to redirect my thoughts from the avalanche of pain that was under my skin. I did everything I could to close my eyes, meditate, and relax. That’s when the epiphany hit me. My Spiritual Guide spoke in a very calm male voice: “Your body is miraculous. The same nerves that transmit pain also transmit pleasure.”
Wow. First, I looked around to see who was standing in my bathroom at 3am. Then I realized that there was no one there. I immediately began to focus on whatever gave me the slightest bit of joy. I closed my eyes and let the things that bring me joy appear in my mind. The first thought that came to mind was a tiny square of rich dark chocolate. I imagined savoring it, tasting it, and feeling good about it. I envisioned a cup of hot tea and the relaxing ritual of brewing it. I imagined having my tea on the terrace. I really got my imagination going then, because I could see a cardinal on the tree in the backyard from my mind’s eye. The cardinal’s glow in the dappled light was astonishing. I got great with the colors and the light, savoring it and enjoying it.
Then I took advantage of the fun of playing with my art supplies, not because I had to, but because it was fun. I came out of the bathtub that morning a different person than I was an hour earlier. I have learned to focus so much on joy and pleasure that most days it totally outshines the pain. The pain is still there, but I don’t feel it as much. “Miss Broomy” doesn’t rule every day. That’s the beauty of the bag of happy tricks – gather enough and keep using them until you really forget about the pain. Even if it is only in your imagination. It is the most powerful tool you have to heal yourself. If you can imagine it, you can do it. I am living proof.