P is for…..

11 Apr
Get a calendar and plan! Image source: Flickr User: happy_serendipity

Get a calendar and plan! Image source: Flickr User: happy_serendipity

…..PLANNING!

I admit it. I am a bit of a planner.

Okay, actually I am a lot of a planner. In my defence tho, I blame genetics. My whole family are planners, I think it’s in our blood or something. Also, I think being a planner is part of that type A personality, the perfectionist, the striver, the pusher, the planner, that is so common in those of us with ME / CFS (me in a nutshell really).

Mr B is the total opposite of me, very much not a planner. He is a do it at the last minute, spontaneous, relaxed ‘don’t worry, it’ll sort itself out, it’ll be fine’ kinda guy. This is good. It calms my OTT planning tendencies. We balance each other out – well on a good day we balance, on a bad day I get stressed at his ‘horizontal-ness’ and he gets annoyed with my planning, my pushing! But the mechanics of mine and Mr B’s relationship is not the subject I planned (haha!) for this post so enough about that.

Sometimes planning is good, and necessary. With ME / CFS I have found planning to be essential to manage my energy levels and (here comes another P) to pace myself. By planning out my activities through the week I can balance activity with the much needed necessary rest.

As lame as it may sound, I have planned out activity slots for my time in Philly so I pace myself and don’t try and do too much too quickly and end up making my ME / CFS symptoms worse. Lou sat with me and my printed calendar outlines (super cool I know…) as we penciled in activity slots (e.g. go out for brunch, e.g. visit Upenn’s Campus for a walk and coffee e.g. go outlet shopping) making sure we interspersed these outings with several ‘rest’ days for me to pace myself in between. My rest days I spend the day as I do at home, following my daily routine, a little yoga, a gentle walk, light box, blogging, reading, all paced sessions and lots of relaxation time.

Whilst Lou and I were working this all out, we both got a bit upset. I felt a bit overwhelmed by it all (but did STOPs to calm myself) and Lou said she was so sad that I had to do this at all, that my life warranted such planning. It does suck that I can’t just whizz about and do all the things I want to do whilst I’m here like a ‘normal’ person. I can’t go shopping all day, I can’t go to Old City and wander around Independence Mall and then go for out for drinks. I need outings to be no more than a few hours tops and I need days off before and after to rest. ME / CFS does suck and I hate that my life is limited by it. But life isn’t fair. It is what it is. I don’t want to end up in the black hole, so I just get on with things, the best I can.

I also tell myself things could be much worse. ME / CFS is a horrible thing to have to live with but I am eternally grateful for what I do have. I have been well enough to travel to Philly to see my sister. I have a wonderfully supportive family (without whom this trip would physically not have been possible for me) and an equally wonderful and supportive partner in the shape of Mr B, who by the way I am missing terribly whilst I’m here and can’t wait for him to join us here in a few a weeks’ time.

I want to enjoy my life and, my time here in Philly especially, as best as my health will let me. And the best strategy I know of to achieve that, is to P.L.A.N…By ‘planning’ (I’m starting to hate that word) in this way I hope I can enjoy my time in Philadelphia with my sister without exacerbating my ME / CFS symptoms in any way. Am I being naive? Or am I being overly cautious? Who knows. What do you think?  I’ll keep you posted.

A word of warning about planning to help pacing with ME / CFS tho. Don’t let planning take over and don’t become obsessed or a perfectionist about it. A little bit of  Mr B’s relaxed nature is needed to moderate the inner planner’s tendency to get all wound up and stressy with trying to plan down to the very last minute detail. Going too far will only wind up with you stressed out, and we all know what stress does to a body with ME / CFS don’t we?

Also, a little flexibility is needed given the fluctuating unpredictable nature of ME / CFS. You can’t always stick to your plan. Last week I was too ill to go out and do anything, this was especially frustrating as it felt like I’d ‘lost’ a week of my holiday, but it’s what my body needed so no point fighting it. As much as it hurt, I had to scrap my plan for last week, and just start over this week when I’m feeling better. So again a little of Mr B’s relaxed and flexible nature goes a long way.

So I do plan. I find planning essential to pacing and managing my ME / CFS. But I try to keep a little bit of Mr B alongside of me, just to keep me balanced, and not let that pesky inner planner take over too much 🙂

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7 Responses to “P is for…..”

  1. tiredtechie May 8, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    Are you by any chance an INTJ?

    • myjourneythrume May 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      I’d never come across that characterization before but thanks to google I now know what it is and it does seem rather appropriate to me!

      • tiredtechie May 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

        Here’s a simple test I like (especially for bloggers!):
        http://bloginality.love-productions.com/

        It was a revelation to me when I found out about the Myers-Briggs Typology Index. You mean the stuff going on in my head is *normal*?!? Yay!! 😀

        If you are an INTJ you must check out intjforum.com. It’s wild. The blogosphere also seems to be crawling with INTJs, or maybe I’m just good at finding them. INTJ-dar. 😉

      • myjourneythrume May 13, 2013 at 8:17 am #

        I’m a ISFJ. It seems really accurate, scarily so! Such a cool test! Thanks for the link 🙂

      • tiredtechie May 15, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

        It is a bit spooky, isn’t it? A good book for more on the “care and feeding” of the different types is Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Myers. Very affirming of diversity. 🙂

        Congrats to Chelsea, by the way. *Sigh…*

      • myjourneythrume May 16, 2013 at 10:28 am #

        It is very spooky! But it’s like you said, it was nice to read something that seemed so similar to me, ‘it’s not just me’! Thanks for the book recommendation I shall look it up. As for Chelsea, it was a pretty scrappy game and as ever stressful as a Chelsea supporter, but naturally very happy we won! Once again we are the Champions of Europe…well of Europa at any rate!!

      • tiredtechie May 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

        Yes, and as others have pointed out, Torres and Mata now (for a week anyway) hold the European, Europa, Euro and World Cup trophies. Did you watch the Copa del Rey final by any chance? Mou got ejected! So did Ronaldo, and Real Madrid lost (mwahaha! – at home too!). Mou said it was his worst season ever, so I guess he’ll be booking his flight to London any day now… 🙂

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