Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter: My Season of Discontent

Yosemite Valley in winterImage via Wikipedia
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun...

~William Shakespeare

The longer I live with chronic pain and chronic fatigue, the more I dread the coming of winter.

Now all things considered, winter in sunny Southern California is mild compared to other places in the U.S., Canada and the world. Since I have visited other places where there is snow on the ground during winter, I know how lucky I am. Which makes me almost hesitant to write this particular post...

But even here in Southern California, Mother Nature causes enough weather changes to upset my delicate and fragile balance and move the needle of my fibromyalgia pain into the flare-up zone.

Upon reflection, I have lived almost my entire life here in Los Angeles and have never really found the winters to be unbearable. That is, until I started living with chronic illness. No, I think my poor body, weaken by constant pain, fatigue and chronic infection, now overreacts to the winter weather changes and creates the physical discontent that is with me during the entire winter season.

In the spirit of the season, I wrote a series of posts in December about dealing with flare-ups. I also wrote some posts about being flare-up back in September too. Reviewing them now, these posts contain some really good insight and advice on this topic. You'll want to check them out:

However, there is one key coping strategy previously unmentioned in these posts that I use to combat winter flare-ups: acceptance.

I have come to accept that I really cannot do anything to prevent weather-related flare-ups. The only thing I can do is accept that they are a part of winter and learn to expect them. Which for all practical purposes makes the winter months some of my least productive ones when it comes to getting things done.

So come back soon, summer sun, and warm this sore and achy body. Until then, you'll find me combating my winter discontent bundled up in fleece clothing, underneath layers of blankets and attached to a heating pad. During the day, I am using all my flare-up coping strategies and counting the days until your triumphant return. At night, I'm dreaming about gloriously warm weather.

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Anonymous said...

For quite a few years now the summer really hits me hard, and this previous one especially once my pots was as its worst. I was very excited for the cold Canadian weather, and I do feel better than I do in the Summer, but this is the first cold season where my fibromyalgia had really given me a run for my money. I'd still rather feel like this than I did in the Summer, but now it feels like we just never get a break no matter what season it is!

Judith Westerfield said...

It's February and it was 78 degrees at my house in Southern California! -just ribbing you :o)

I totally agree with your comment about acceptance. I can't continue fighting with it because it will REALLY win.

Judith Westerfield

Psoriasis Psucks said...

Judith you just made me wanna cry! Good thing I'm coming out to Southern Cali for a vacay in a week! It's been 30's and below here in Maine for quite some time. My psoriasis is begging for some sun and vitamin D!

Selena said...

Don't get me wring... Southern California is wonderful in winter compared to many other places.

For me, it's the transitions from warm to cold, rain to windy, that happen during the winter months that just wreak havoc on my fibromyalgia. I know they just the usual seasonal changes and fluctuations; the true problem is that my body isn't it's usual self anymore!

To survive fibromyalgia, I'm beginning to see that I need to live in Camelot. You know...

"A law was made a distant moon ago here:
July and August cannot be too hot.
And there's a legal limit to the snow here
In Camelot.
The winter is forbidden till December
And exits March the second on the dot.
By order, summer lingers through September
In Camelot.
Camelot! Camelot!
I know it sounds a bit bizarre,
But in Camelot, Camelot
That's how conditions are.
The rain may never fall till after sundown.
By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot."