Lupus Lesson: Why pushing too hard won't work with lupus (or a smartphone!)

A few days ago, I took this screenshot on my phone:

The phone number is to my pharmacy, and I took it in anticipation of making a call to my pulmonologist's office. Because I needed my doctor's office to fax over a prescription, I wanted to have the pharmacy number handy. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and yes, it worked for that purpose. But over the course of the next few hours, this little screenshot caused complete havoc! 

Inadvertently, I left the screen open after the call to the pulmonologist's office. So when it came up again, I instinctively pressed the "End Call" button to end the call. But the button wasn't active, because it's just a screen shot. So nothing happened. But I kept trying to press the button, until I remembered that it was just a screen shot. Then I switched screens without closing it, because, after all, it was "just a picture". But then the still-open-screen would pop up throughout the day, and every time, I'd relentlessly press the "End Call" button. And then the whole charade would begin again. 

Once I finally closed the screen (after way too many battles and way too late in the day), two things came to mind:

One - the phrase "to bang your head against the wall", which defined, means "to waste one's time trying hard to accomplish something that is utterly hopeless." (Yeah. That about sums it up.) 

And Two - the futile way I used to approach my chronic illness. 

Just like trying to press a button that doesn't work, I'd repeatedly push my body beyond its limits, while simultaneously expecting my lupus symptoms to subside. I would refuse to accommodate for the illness, and ignore the wreckage my efforts were leaving behind, but then scream in frustration when my disease would flare. 

Trying to "hang up" a screen shot, or manage a chronic illness by ignoring it simply cannot be done. It is a hopeless endeavor, and a complete waste of time. 

But, practicing self-awareness is not. Nor is acknowledging your boundaries. And when combined with a mastery of how to accommodate for your illness, disease management becomes very possible.

To live well with a chronic illness is not like banging your head against the wall. 

In fact, it's the exact opposite. 


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