I am writing tonight’s blog because I need to be reminded, and maybe you do too.
For months now, I have had chronic pain in my back and neck. I am still not all that positive how or why this happened to me, but it is what it is,.
At first the pain was so severe that I could hardly move so I grabbed the kids and dragged them to the doctor with me. It was such a long and horrid experience for all of us that I just couldn’t be bothered to go back when the pain lasted more than the “few days” I was told that it would. I didn’t want to put them through such a long and horrid experience, didn’t want to inconvenience them. It didn’t seem worth it to me. I figured the pain would eventually subside and I could just suck it up and deal with it until then.
Wouldn’t you know it, days turned to months, and the pain that had seemed to be waning began to get worse. That’s when I finally woke up and wrote the blog on realizing that in order to really care for my children, I had to take the time to put MYSELF first every now and then.
And I did it. I was not only proud of myself, but relieved. I felt like this would be it. I was getting help, and soon I would feel back to my normal self again, able to play with the kids without feeling so much pain that I had to stop. Able to not have to tell the boys I couldn’t pick them up, couldn’t sit at the table and help them color or play with playdoh. I wouldn’t have to tell them “no” when I so desperately wanted to say “yes!”
It’s been a month since that blog- and i’m sad to say, there has been no difference in my level of pain. I feel no different, and some nights, I feel worse.
At my last follow-up, I explained this to the doctor. I explained that the pain was debilitating and that I could not care for my children properly and the anti-inflammatory he gave me was NOT helping. I am not, by any means, a pill seeker, but I do believe that I need something in order to allow me to be functional. What did he do? Gave me another anti-inflammatory that has side effects of dizziness and drowsiness. How can one care for small children while feeling that way? That’s almost worse than the pain.
I was devastated. How could he not help me? Did he think I was lying?
As I spoke with some friends, I was encouraged to call back and try again. I was told “advocate for yourself like you did with Parker”
And they were right. I absolutely did advocate for him. When I didn’t get the answer I wanted, the help I thought he deserved, I yelled screamed and stamped my feet. If that didn’t work, I went to another doctor and another and another until he finally got the help he needed.
Our children have us, the parents, and ONLY us to look out for them, to advocate for them. At such a young age they cannot stand up for themselves, so if we don’t- no one else will.
But who do we, the parents, have to do the same for us? No one.
We don’t have someone bigger than us looking out for us at all times, someone who if we fell down would pick us back up and clean our wounds. Someone to stand up for us, to tell us what to do, and to help us in serious situations. No one that is considered our representative, our guardian. We are the adults now, and it is up to us, in the end, to take care of ourselves.
And I know i’m not the only one who has absolutely no problem advocating until i’m blue in the face for my child who depends on me, but cannot seem to do the same for myself. Even when I know that I have to, like now.
In a situation as serious as chronic debilitating pain, I HAVE to stand up for myself. I have to advocate for myself as I would my own children. I’m worth it. And my children are worth having ME back.
We need to remind ourselves, not just occasionally, but CONSTANTLY- that WE are important too. We can’t expect to be the “best we can be” if we don’t feel 100%, and we need to do whatever it is that we can in order to get back to that. Whether it be letting the living room be a mess or the dishes go unwashed for a day just to get a mental break. Sleeping in one morning because we are SO exhausted from being up all night, getting the hell out of the house to refresh ourselves, or cussing out a doctor who doesn’t take us seriously to get the help we need and deserve.
Advocate for yourself; if you don’t, who will?
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