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  • Saskia Müller

Read This When You're in a Flare

Dear fellow spoonie —

If you’re reading this, chances are high that you’re in a flare, too. Hey, what’s up? What are the odds of meeting you here?

When you constantly have a baseline of pain all the time, it kind of feels unfair when you go into a flare of more pain. At least, that’s what I think.

For this flare, I’ve been dealing with a lot of anger, depression, and negative feelings. Feelings like “this will never end,” “I hate having a chronic illness,” and “why oh why G-d would this happen to me?”

Half of the struggle of being in a flare is your mindset. It’s so easy to fall into despair and feeling sorry for yourself. I have definitely been there this week. I have been frustrated that I can’t do the things that I normally do — which, admittedly, are not all the things I’d like to be able do, but when your pain knocks you flat on your back (literally), you gain some perspective.

Last night, I was so worked up and just felt like my emotions had been tied into knots a hundred times. I ended up needing to just re-center — focus on my breath, meditate a little. My pain didn’t go away, but after a few mediations I fell asleep. And in the morning, I felt stronger somehow and more able to handle it.

Whatever you can find to get you through the hard days like this, take it and grab on with both hands. Whether it’s a funny sitcom or the anchor of your breath grounding you, let yourself just be where you need to. Rest as much as you need to. Be flat on your back if you have to. Put your to do list to the side for a while. It’s okay. You can pick these things back up when you’re feeling better. You are your biggest priority right now.

I don’t know about you, but maybe you need this reminder too — remember that it’s not your fault. You don’t need to blame yourself for this happening. Sometimes I find myself overanalyzing every single way I moved my body, every single thing I did in the past 24 hours, trying to figure out why I’m flaring. But the less that we can engage in that behaviour, the better. Sometimes flares happen for no reason. Sometimes we are just flaring, and it’s okay.

And remember that this too will pass; no moment is forever. Even flares. Especially flares. They’re called flares for a reason.

If you google the definition of flare, this is what comes up: burn with a sudden intensity; “the bonfire crackled and flared up

I love that mental image because our pain is much the same way. We often have the fire of pain, and sometimes the flames flare and burn with a sudden intensity. We often use pain relief methods to try to douse the flames (sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t). But eventually, either way, the flame quiets, and the fire goes back to burning steadily. I believe that will happen soon for us, too.

With love and spoons and the wish for you to feel better ASAP,

— Saskia


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