Spring is upon us. At least, it should be. I live in the hills of the Scottish Borders and because we sit quite high (1150 feet above sea level), Spring always comes to us a little bit later than elsewhere. Even just a few miles down the valley, we notice daffodils blooming, while ours are just starting to sprout out of the ground.
Unpredictable Scottish Weather
One day last week, I noticed that our daffodils were blooming. Spring had sprung. Then I woke up the following morning to find a lovely, thick blanket of snow on the ground. Today, there’s no snow. Nor is there sunshine or blue sky. I can barely see twenty feet in front of the house because of mist. Spring???
That kind of weather’s not unusual in Scotland. Sun, rain, hail, snow, wind – it doesn’t matter the name of the season, our weather has a mind of its own and it can change in an instant. When I was young, it was drummed in to me to take a jacket and carry an umbrella even if the sun was splitting the trees. And when the sun does split the trees, I’ve learned to make the most of it, because it might not be here for long.
We might sometimes have four seasons in one day, but our weather is what makes Scotland so beautiful. It gives us our gorgeous scenery, but it really is very unpredictable.
Chronic Pain is Unpredictable
I often think that living with chronic pain could be compared to living with Scottish weather. Chronic pain is unpredictable too.
I know that I will have pain every day, but I just don’t know how much or how badly it will affect me.
Today I might manage to go shopping to the supermarket with my husband, but tomorrow I might not be fit to sit in the car for the twenty minute journey to get there.
Today I might manage to bake a cake or do some art or crafting, but tomorrow I might struggle to stand long enough to make a cup of tea.
Today I might manage to brush my teeth, but tomorrow my trigeminal neuralgia could be too painful to even attempt it.
But my pain doesn’t just change from day to day. It can change from hour to hour, or even minute to minute.
One minute I could be having relatively low pain, then it all goes belly up and I could by lying in bed for the rest of the day and reaching for extra pain relief for my back. Or I could be enjoying my dinner, then suddenly the trigeminal neuralgia fires into action stopping me from eating.
Unpredictable. That’s life with any kind of chronic condition.
Preparing For The Unpredictable
Wearing a jacket and carrying an umbrella isn’t enough to prepare for pain, but I do whatever I can try to either lessen or prevent it.
I try to rest, practice self-care and take my medication regularly. I’ve learned that missing or being late with one dose, can worsen my pain. I always carry extra pain medication when I do go out just in case I need it.
When I make plans, I accept that I might need to change them at times. I don’t stop all activities because of my pain, but I do often have to do things differently than I’d like. I still want to be active and participate in hobbies, so I might give myself time limits. Making adjustments and compromises can allow me to still do some of the things I love doing.
I also realise, and accept, that doing some things might cause me more pain. But sometimes a bit of payback is worth it. I still need to enjoy my life, despite the pain.
Appreciating Better Days
Just as I appreciate the glimpses of Scottish sunshine, I appreciate each and every moment when I have less pain. And on the more painful days, I look for silver linings on clouds. When everything feels dark, I try to find some brightness.
I find brightness everywhere. In the daffodils, in birds, in the lambs in the field in front of my house. It’s in laughter and in music. I find it in my husband, my family and friends and in happy memories. I always find brightness in the little things in life. I’ve written about it before, here. Little things, especially when you live with chronic illness of any type, mean so much.
Little Things, Even Colours, Make Me Happy
When I was a little girl, I loved the colour red. Bright, vibrant red. As I grew older, my favourite colour changed to green. All shades of green. Mint green, teal green, bottle green and every-shade-in-between green. I have a couch that’s green. I have clothes that are green. My blog is green. My eyes that are green. (Okay, I didn’t actually choose them – but I’m happy they’re green). I look out my windows at the surrounding countryside, and I see a thousand shades of green in the grass, leaves and trees.
I do love green, but a few months ago I discovered I had a new favourite colour. Another blogger, Brain Embryos, nominated me for a blogging award. She had to pose a few questions to her nominees. One of her questions was :
Describe the colour yellow to someone who is blind.
And my answer was :
It’s that feeling of walking outside on a summer’s day when the sun hits your face. It has warmth and brightness and you can feel that sunshine glowing all around you and it gives you a happy feeling. It feels like it will wash away your worries. It makes me smile. Touch my face, and you’ll feel my smile and the creases around my eyes because I’m smiling. Warm, bright, happy and hopeful – that’s yellow.
Yellow Means Hope
After I wrote that, I realised that yellow is my new favourite colour. Yellow symbolises everything I love about life. But most of all, it symbolises hope.
As soon as the yellow daffodils start poking up through hard ground, they instantly put a smile on my face. After a long, cold, dreary winter, Spring is bringing everything back to life. It’s a reminder that, no matter how bleak it’s been, there’s hope for the future. Always. It’s the start of a new season. New hope.
In the same way that Spring always follows winter, I try to remember that good days will come after bad. Today I could be in excruciating pain, but I always remain hopeful that tomorrow could be better. And if not tomorrow, the following day. Or maybe the day after. I stay optimistic about it. I need to.
I’d love to hear what you think. Is your chronic health condition also unpredictable like Scottish weather? Does Spring cheer you up after a dreary winter? What’s your favourite colour, and to borrow Brain Embryo’s question, how would you describe it to a blind person?
Please share this post, and I’d really appreciate it if you would follow my blog, and say hello to me on my Facebook and Twitter pages.