Chronic pain, living and growing, sleep

The Problem with Rest

When I was younger I never knew how to rest. If I was awake, I was moving. There was always something that needed to get done.

About 10 years ago, that changed. My kids were mostly grown, perimenopause was kicking my butt and I knew I needed to rest. The problem was, I didn’t know how. It was foreign to me. I wasn’t even sure beyond taking a nap, what it meant to rest.

I began to read and study books on the subject. I was determined to figure it out. I led small groups on rest. I realized that if I didn’t know how to rest, maybe other women didn’t either. Sounds ironic, but I ‘worked’ on resting. And eventually, I started to figure it out.

Rest was good and necessary. It was so much more than sleeping. Rest nurtured the soul.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that I was diagnosed recently with an autoimmune disease that both demands more rest and recoils from rest. Nowadays, resting creates stiff, inflamed joints. Pain travels from joint to joint with each day bringing it’s own unpleasant surprises. The one thing all my joints dislike is stillness.

Sitting still for more than 10 minutes or so and I get up out the chair like I’m 95 years old. Going to bed means hours of stillness. Hours of my joints being immobile. Immobile joints become painful and weak.

So, I have a new problem with rest. My soul still requires it. My mind has learned to appreciate it and most of my body still needs it. But my joints….well, they have a problem with rest.

So, a new journey has begun. I’m figuring out how to rest all over again. Rest, or how to do so without causing pain, is the problem I’m working at solving now.

I need to find new ways to rest. New ways of looking at rest. Even the most primal form of rest, sleeping, requires a new approach.

I’m taking my new problem and heading back to the drawing board. The advantage I have this time is that I now appreciate its benefits. I’ve experienced the value of it first hand for long enough to know that going back to ‘not resting’ is not the solution. Instead, I need to discover new ways of thinking of rest and new ways of actually doing it that work for this latest version of me.

I have a problem. And I won’t rest until I solve it! 🙂