Last week I talked about having long-term goals, this week I’m talking short-term goals.
When I attended the AS course at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, the first time, one of the things which really stood out for me in all the sessions which gave us advice and guidance on AS, was the session discussing depression.
The physiotherapists explained that when your nervous system is sending pain signals to your brain, caught up in this, is that your body will release chemicals which affect your mood. So actually pain makes you feel down, depressed, and I know when I was letting this all get to me, I then felt guilty about being depressed. Being absolutely honest, I thought about committing suicide daily, although I would not have done it, I could never have done that to my daughter. I felt guilty though, anyway, because of how my depression impacted on my family, it affected my relationship with my husband and my daughter particularly.
Depression makes your really short-tempered for a start, impatient and intolerant, and it makes you bad company. The depression more than the illness could have destroyed my marriage if I’d let it.
So, when the hospital told me it was basically just natural to feel depressed when you are suffering with a considerable amount of pain, it lifted the guilt off me. I felt less as though I was just a moaning winger, and more like I was just someone who had a condition they were coping with (which is what I am).
I could have gone on to anti-depressant tablets, I didn’t, I was taking enough medicine, I didn’t want more.
So when I came home I talked things through with my husband.
Last week, I talked about how escaping into fiction writing was the thing which has really got me through, but that was still an insular thing. I needed something else, I needed commas in my life which would break up the weeks of struggling into work, with more than a weekend which was all just about two days recovering from my week at work. I wanted something to keep looking forward to, a goal which was easy to reach.
My husband and I agreed that, for us, this was going to be going out to National Trust or English Heritage properties, at least once a month, if not twice a month. It was something which would help me research my books, and I just love history anyway, hence why I write historical fiction, and we weren’t getting enough out of our memberships before this either. My husband also loves history. So we started going out.
I miss these days if we don’t get them. It’s increased the quality of life I have massively, and just helps to keep me going through hard times. I have something to look forward to, and it gets me out in the fresh air and gives me quality time with my husband. I always feel a lot better when we’ve had a day out, emotionally. And we always do it in a way that doesn’t aggravate my AS, so we don’t leave early, we usually get wherever we are going at lunchtime, and then eat, so I have an energy boost before we start wondering around, and then we just spend a couple of hours wherever, before coming back. They are always just really relaxed pleasant days.
So I’d strongly recommend having something like this you treat yourself to, to make life more than just a trial of endurance.
Next week I thought I’d share more on my relationship with my husband, as people have said to me, when I’ve mentioned this, they found this helpful…
AS is my burden, writing is my escape, don’t forget you can read my first novel now, the links are below.
And if you are looking for the best help to improve your Ankylosing Spondylitis then for me it was the AS course at the Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, UK. It changed my life (You can attend as a private patient or on the NHS). And if you would like more information on AS take a look at National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society, NASS, website.
My debut novel is now available on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com (writing fiction has been my preferred painkiller for years and now I can share my escapism characters). Sapphire Star Publishing are the publisher. If you want to find out more go to www.janelark.co.uk like me on Facebook or follow me on twitter @janelark