As I lie here in bed with some of the worst back pain I’ve ever had, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my relationship with my body. I’ve talked about it before, but being born with MD, I’ve always felt at odds with my body. I generally feel like it’s a separate thing from myself as weird as that sounds. It’s a separate thing I haven’t often gotten along with either. I get mad at it. I don’t understand it. I even hate it sometimes. It’s always kind of been my ultimate foe, even though that’s not the way it should be.
I never really realized it until today when I hurt my back trying to carry in heavy groceries that I wasn’t physically equipped to carry, that I sometimes try to force my body to do things because other, able-bodied people can do them so I feel like I should be able to too. I’m super stubborn about it to the point I don’t usually ask for help when I should either. Part of it is that I also feel so great when I’m able to do something on my own, especially something I didn’t think I could do or something I didn’t think I would have the physical strength to do. Just being able to lift my suitcase up onto the luggage stands in hotels when I went on my first solo trip felt like such a personal accomplishment. But sometimes, I just push my body too far. I should ask for help, or I should make more than one trip out to the car to carry my groceries in. But I just want to cling to everything I can do on my own so much.
It’s been hard aging. I don’t feel old by any means and I know that I’m not, but unfortunately my body is not in that same place. Once again, it feels separate. I have this disease I was born with. Something I had no choice in. As a result, I have to contort my body in strange ways sometimes to be able to get out of chairs, off the couch, or to pull myself up. For most of my life this wasn’t an issue but once I hit 30, it started to take its toll. My back hurts a lot more often and it’s a lot more at risk for getting hurt more easily. I’m extremely lucky I don’t have a lot of pain otherwise and just have to deal with the whole falling thing but the back pain has been really hard to cope with. Water aerobics has certainly helped (even though I can hurt my back there too if I’m not careful) but it still only gives me so much strength. I’m never going to be able to just hop off the couch. I’m always going to have to twist in weird ways that strain my back. So what am I supposed to do? My body has MD so it doesn’t have the strength to do things normally but then I end up in pain as a result. It can be extremely frustrating.
I hope that my relationship with my body improves as time goes on. It’s the only one I’ve got and I certainly try to take better care of it better than I used to. But I hope I can figure out a way to avoid pain more often too. I wish it could perform at a normal strength level but that’s never going to happen so I just have to make the best of what I have.