The punishment and the reward



On Monday I was having a bad day from the get go. I had a very poor sleep. I woke up and the pain just smacked me in the face. I bent over to pick up something from the ground and just about threw up from the massive wave of pain and assaulted me. Then you know my depression says to me, why go to work, it is going to be just a long, arduous torment. You are so tired. Just lay back down and go to sleep. You know you want to.

But I didn't. I went to work. It wasn't easy. I told myself I could get through it. The next day I had off. What was 8 hours? Well... 8 hours is 8 freaking Hours when you are in pain, but nevertheless I did it. And sometimes I just can't muster up the energy, the courage, strength or motivation to do that. But this is chronic pain and it isn't going anywhere I tell myself. This isn't like working full-time, I say, where I was completely exceeding my pain limits. This is just a very bad pain day. And there will be very bad pain days.

I am very methodical on bad pain days. Most of my focus is on the pain. The brain takes all that energy just surviving the pain it doesn't have the space for much else. I tend to confirm things a lot with customers. Make them repeat back to me what they wanted. I know it sounds repetitive but I need to hear it again so it sticks in my brain. And I double check my work. I want to be consistent. I want to make sure it is all done right. And I remind my perfectionist self it actually is human to occasionally make errors. Just happens. Not that customers forgive that, but sadly it is true. Nevertheless I want to ensure I am in the normal range of that.

My psychologist gave me a tip for these bad pain survival days for when I achieve the momentous goal of getting to work. Reward myself. Now there is very little I generally reward myself with. I am not really the type of person that buys much of anything. Except books. So he said reward myself with a book. Right away. So the brain acknowledges the fact that getting through that day means getting a reward. So someone is getting a ton of books!!!!

This concept is a good idea. I can't miss work and part of the problem is the depression that comes with a increase in pain. And depression saps my motivation. It just doesn't want me to function in pain. Well who does? But I need to function in some capacity in pain. I need to cope in pain and I need to manage the depression by acting. Acting helps with motivation. Just doing until they brain understands action is a good thing. Until it understands that actions lead to many good things. Many other types of rewards.

It isn't easy because pain in the morning at high levels is tremendously exhausting. I have not done a damn thing and already I can't imagine getting through the day. Pain when it increases as the day goes on, which is my normal pattern, I am used to. I am already at work and I just get through it. Just maintain until I am done. I am already There after all. I have never left work from pain. No matter the intensity. It has slowed me down, mind you. I mean a 9 level pain at work will really inhibit your capacity to function. And you don't get much done, but I have better pain management options now for 9's at work so there is that. More often than not I am a 8 at work and work up to the 9 at home into the evening. And good days I stay at a solid 7. Starting at a 9 is something altogether different. It is horrific to think of doing anything. So I start by aggressively treating the pain and the nausea. Taking some B12 for the fatigue. Slowly getting dressed. Then making that Choice to walk out the door. And survive the day by inches. Crawl through it. If the pain management works part of the day will go down to an 8 before going back on up again which was how Monday worked out for me.

What I had been doing was trying to aggressively manage the pain, sleep, and go into work for a half day. This obviously works a great deal better, but isn't sustainable with work. Work is work. They can't accommodate half days randomly when they have me scheduled for a full shift just because my body doesn't want to co-operate.

So get through it.
The next day is a day off from the way I have accommodated my schedule.
And reward myself. With a book.

Is it sustainable this working part-time? I have no answer for that. It is a trial as I go sort of deal.
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