Learning To Be Selfish

Sorry, I haven’t posted in almost a week. I’ve been really moving around a lot and dealing with a horrible flare-up*. Which leads me to…

I need to learn to be selfish. I like to think I’m a helpful person. When someone needs me, I very rarely say no. However, I need to start saying no more often because living with chronic pain, saying yes all the time can work against you.

This past weekend I went to a retirement party, baby shower/surprise proposal, the movies, and grocery shopping. Then Monday I went to work, did some cleaning around my place, and put away groceries. Yesterday, my body said enough was enough and I crashed when I got home from work. I “slept”** from 4pm until 5am.

Wow! 13 hours!?! Really? You must feel so refreshed and energized.

No. Not the slightest. After all of that, I still feel like I can take a nap while writing this.
This flare-up started Friday while I was at work and has been leeching on me ever since. I couldn’t figure out what caused it, I just knew I was suffering. I made it through the last couple of hours of work and all I wanted to do was go home and just sleep. However, I couldn’t. My mom was retiring after 30-something years and her last day of work was that Friday. So, my mom’s friend decided to throw her a small retirement party at her place. Of course, I had to go. If it was anyone else, I probably wouldn’t have gone. Hell, I was really close to not going anyway. But, I knew I couldn’t, I had to go. Strike one.

During my mom’s retirement party, my sister reminded me that our honorary brother’s baby shower/surprise proposal was the next day (Saturday). I completely forgot about it. I had to go because I never thought I would see the day my big brother would find a wonderful person he would could settle down and share his life with (Sorry big brother but, it’s true! Lol). Strike two.

I asked my aunt if she wanted to go to the movies about a week before. I forgot to text her and give her a time, so to make it up to her, after the baby shower/surprise proposal, I asked if she wanted to go to the movies. Strike three.

Sunday, my mom came over to help me go grocery shopping. She knows how much it tires me out between grocery shopping, bringing the bag up the steps to my apartment, and then putting the food away. My grocery shopping is always spread out across multiple stores because I do my big shopping about once every couple of months. After the first out of three stops, my body was already crippling. My mom asked if I just wanted to save the other stores for another day but, I told her no because I just wanted to be done with it and not have to worry about it until the next big trip. Strike four.

I really couldn’t say no to my mom’s retirement party (even though I’m sure she would’ve told me to stay home if she knew how bad I was feeling), but everything else I could’ve said no to. I didn’t have to go to the baby shower/proposal. I didn’t have to ask my aunt to go to the movies. I really didn’t have to go to the other grocery stores, let alone, I really didn’t need to go grocery shopping that day, I had enough food to wait until I was feeling “normal”.

I have to learn to tell others and even myself, “no”. I have to listen to my body and not push myself past the limit. When living with chronic pain, the more you push yourself one day, the more energy you’re sucking away from the next. And when you’re living with chronic pain, you don’t have that much energy to begin with.

I don’t think being selfish is not being inconsiderate to others. In order to continue to be there for others, you have to take care of yourself. That includes listening to your body and saying no to a situation even when you don’t want to. If someone thinks you’re being mean or inconsiderate for saying no, talk to them. Let them know it’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just you can’t.

So, I’m going to take the first step in being more selfish by saying no to going out on Friday. I really want to because it’s my friend’s birthday weekend but, I need to just sit still. Plus, we’re hanging out Saturday night, so I need to save my energy for that.

* For those of you don’t know what I mean by flare-up. My normal pain gets turned up to max and everything is intensified. Instead of the usual fatigue, I’m exhausted. Instead of the usual pain, everything hurts and it feels like I’m carrying an elephant on my back. To sum up a flare-up in three words, it just sucks.

** I get sleep. I don’t get rest. I’m going to do a blog post that goes into more details on why no matter how much sleep I may get, I’m still always fatigued.

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