"Wie viel ist Aufzuleiden!" Rilke

how much suffering there is ...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Keep keeping on, ok?

This is a belated addition to my previous entry, but I couldn’t add it as quickly as I wanted too … sometimes that’s just the way it is with fibromyalgia. Of course, there may have been something more to add, (well, of course there is, isn’t that the point of life?) in fact, I'm quite certain that there was something else that I wanted to say right away, but maintaining a continual train of thought when your brain is constantly being derailed by chronic pain is, in a word, difficult.

Everyday life, for example ﷓ and I'm not talking about the special things, just the mundane crap that everyone endures – can become agonizingly difficult to get through when it is accompanied by constant pain. As much as I would love to just "think away" the pain, say by using something like Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy, the principles of CBT do not really work too well when it comes to overcoming severe chronic pain (the link is to an article in my “Inner voice” blog concerning the use of CBT and schizophrenia).

Don't get me wrong ﷓ there are some things that CBT is very helpful for in regards to pain, not the least of which being that it has helped prevent the untimely demise of some individuals who had the misfortune of deciding that the best time to see just how stupid they could possibly be happened to be at the time I was experiencing an extreme episode of breakthrough pain (it turns out stupidity is only limited by finances these days, but I digress … often). If I hadn’t learned the techniques of being able to change the way I think about things I have no doubt that I’d be writing this from far less comfortable environs … and that’s not a very nice prospect.

Without the benefit of CBT, and owing largely to the fact that it felt as though there was an ice﷓pick embedded in my left temple, I may very well have used my cane in a manner that was not generally recommended by the maker ... though I think he would have appreciated the gesture. If this had been an isolated incident it would be easy to chalk it up to “having a bad day”, but that is far from the case. If I were to try and count the number of times this situation came about, well I don’t think I’d leave the house for fear of losing control.

That is the most important thing about coping with fibromyalgia (and, for that matter, with bi-polar disorder): being able to retain some semblance of control over your emotions allows you to maintain a veneer of “normality”. Of course, that has absolutely nothing to do with reality, but it makes for a good show. When you get home you can collapse, cry into your pillow (beat up your pillow), throw things (not at people, please), and do all the venting you want … just make sure you have it all out of your system before you leave the house the next day.

I can’t do that. Without warning, things will bubble up to the surface and … there it is, said. It isn’t that I say things without thinking, but that the process will take place so quickly it will bypass my “internal editor” – or, perhaps censor is a better word. Racing thoughts are one thing, but when your mouth is engaged, giving an escape route for what your mind is conjuring up, well, that can be a recipe for disaster (or just embarrassment … or harassment, depending on the situation). Regardless, it isn’t necessarily the best way to endear you to someone.

Then there is the question as to which is worse: Emotional angst and dysphoric spiraling through depression and hypomania that comes with bi-polar disorder or the chronic, unceasing pain of fibromyalgia. Personally, I’d rather not have either, but … if I had to choose between the two, let’s see: you’ve got to be kidding, right? There is no way you can possibly expect someone to make a choice about something like that, especially when many people have ended their lives as a result of these conditions.

At the same time, I cannot dismiss that there is some relationship between my moods and my ability to be creative … and that is the reason for this whole blog. In essence, I want to explore, in a public forum, the relationship between the creative imperative (as I like to call it) and bi-polar disorder. If the fibromyalgia plays a role (other than hindrance) I want to explore that as well, but my primary focus is the affective disorder. There will be discussion of FMS (the shortened reference to fibromyalgia) within the discussions of BP (bi-polar) as, in my case, they are interrelated, but the primary focus is affect and creativity.

On that note, no pun intended, I shall end … but I shall return (hopefully in less time than it took McArthur to return to the Philippines!). Thank you for reading.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Wie viel ist aufzuleiden ...

This is a “sister site” to my main blog, The Inner Voice of the CrazyComposer. My main passions are easy to define: I am a composer and writer. For most of my life I have felt defined by what I do, which suits me just fine; answering the creative imperative is something that I believe to be a calling, something that people do not necessarily choose for careers but are rather chosen to be.

Unfortunately, this only scratches the surface of my life, and it brings to light something that I have been struggling with for more than half my life. At first it seemed to be something completely unrelated to the creative aspect of my life, but as time went on I began to discover that there was a certain symbiosis existing between things that otherwise didn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities. As things in my life became worse it became apparent that there was a closer connection between my ability to create and my mood than I’d ever imagined.

In short, I discovered that there was a close connection to my being a creative individual and the fact that I have an affective disorder. Bi-polar affective disorder, which is commonly known as “manic depression” drives the moods upwards, and then there are plummets into depths that are astoundingly dark. Something I like to call the “Roller Coaster Ride from Hell”.

If that weren’t enough, there is the fibromyalgia. To describe fibromyalgia to someone who is unfamiliar with this condition is like trying to describe the pain of a kidney stone to someone who has never had one: there really isn’t anything that you can refer to as a concordance for the pain. On any given day there can be pain in any (or all) of the major muscles, the spaces between my ribs (connective tissue), anywhere along my back, arms, legs, neck, ....

It isn’t something that I even want to describe, but ... I need a first post. Sorry. I’m preparing something that will explain things a bit better, and there will be some great links to resources on fibromyalgia and bi-polar disorder.

The main focus of this blog, as per the title, is the idea of suffering. I have chosen a quote by Rainer Maria Rilke, a great poet of the turn of the twentieth century, to represent the philosophy: Wie viel ist aufzuleiden. “How much suffering there is to go through” is essentially what Rilke said, and it reflects a great deal about what gets me through life. When we have a reason to live we can overcome any obstacle that stands in our way - that is how I have to think in order to be able to continue creating things while trying to cope with chronic pain and mood swings.

Wie viel ist aufzuleiden.