Monday, May 14, 2012

Fibromyalgia and pain management through art

I love experimenting with lettering, and I was really sleepy...
You may have noticed the recent lack of posts here. There is a reason, and it's not because I've lost interest in my blog. Instead, it's the usual reason- my fibromyalgia is causing me quite a few problems.

For the past few months, I've been having more and more issues with pain control, and I've been able to do less and less. Not good when you have a life to live, you know? For some reason, instead of telling my doctors how I'm actually doing, I tend to try and suck it up and just power through, hoping things will improve.

Of course, that never works, and I just end up making myself and everyone around me miserable as I try. Then I end up feeling horribly guilty, like somehow I've failed for having so much fibro pain. It makes no sense, and I seem to keep going through this cycle- I improve to a point I'm starting to get more active and feel better, so I want to come down on the medications that help me feel better.

I drew this at the party for my niece's first communion.
I just didn't want to put her name out there on the nets. :D
Now we're in the stage where we fix it. We're making changes to my medications, slowly so that I don't end up an overmedicated zombie. Unfortunately, the change we made last month actually seems to have made things worse. This is definitely not fun...

It's been quite the experience, to say the least. I've been going with unpolished nails for a lot of the time, because I just don't have the energy to paint them, or because I'm shaking too badly from pain to actually do them. My son and my husband have been wonderful, trying to cheer me up and keep me laughing even if they can't make the pain go away.

That's why I'm writing this post- for those of you who have fibromyalgia too, or those of you who have a chronic health condition. Some days are just bad, and that's ok. I like to share what I do to make those days more tolerable.

First off- music. I can't even begin to explain how much music alters my brain chemistry and takes me someplace else, where the pain is more tolerable. Everyone's musical balms will be different, but mine are Incubus, Jack Conte and Pomplamoose, Jack Johnson... each one creates a different response in me, but they're all useful.

I drew all of these during a particularly nasty
flash flood, in which my mom's house came
within about a half inch of getting water inside.
It was scary.
Laughter is also important for me. Even when I'm in tears from pain, I can laugh, and do. My husband is still my closest friend, and even after 20 years he can make me laugh easily. We snuggle when I can, and when it hurts too much he'll sit with me and talk, and make me laugh.

I really do think I'm the lucky one in our relationship. :D

Finally, I love to be creative when I can. Drawing when I can, and when I can't I color. In fact, when the pain got seriously bad, my husband and I went to WalMart so I could walk for a bit, and when I couldn't walk any more, he got a wheelchair for me and pushed me through the store, looking at cosmetics and toys and electronics. He took me through the coloring book section, where I picked out a sweet Strawberry Shortcake coloring book. I also got some neon colored pencils, since I love bright color.

I don't know why coloring is so satisfying for me, but it really is. It's almost hypnotic for me, watching each section slowly fill with color, coming to life with the rhythmic motion of my hand. I can lose myself in the application of color, even to something as silly as a children's coloring book.

Drawing for me is very similar. I rarely know what I'm going to draw when I start one of the mandala-type things I've been doing lately. I start with a square or a circle, and then just start adding bits. Piece by piece, they expand, each taking on their own style and vibe.

I love the tendrils flowing out from this one. It
makes me think of some sort of underwater creature,
flowing bits swirling around in the currents.
Before long, I've got a piece that seems finished, except for color. Lots of times, I hate what I've got at that point. But I keep going, coloring in the spaces and adding to the piece, sometimes blending pens together to achieve gradients or new colors. Speaking of pens...

I have a bit of an addiction. My purse would be so much lighter without my pens, but I need them. When I'm feeling stressed out or hurting, I pull out my notebook and start to draw, and things feel better. But the pens...

I don't even know how many pens I carry. I've made two small pouches that stand up in my purse so that my pens don't get lost in my bag. I have regular black drawing pens (one super-fine point, one fine point, a couple of medium point, some sharpies...), neon gel pens, metallic pens, glitter pens. I have a set of ballpoint pens in various colors of the rainbow. When I think about which pens I would want to stop carrying? I can't even pick... they're my security blanket, and they go wherever I go.

This little guy is a... well, he's a bird thing. He doesn't honk, he doesn't quack.
He quonks. And that's good enough for me.
I don't always draw mandala things. I seem to get almost obsessed with things. For a while I drew fancy cakes, cupcakes. I even did a couple of paintings of cakes. Then it moved on to other things...

I draw robots and fairies and fantasy landscapes. And now, apparently, I draw bird things. I don't even know... but he's kind of cute.

So yea... pain management. I see my doctor in a couple of weeks, and hopefully I'll be feeling well enough to finish the kick-butt video I'm editing right now, and to do the reviews I've got in my planner. I've got so many plans, if I can get my body to cooperate!

Next month will be better.
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