Stress

Oct. 2nd, 2012 09:17 pm
I've been going to a weekly "stress control" course. It's six sessions, of which I've just come back from the second. I've had a bit of a problem going to it - going to a large room full of strangers and having at least one of them look at me is not fun - but a lot of what they've had to say so far has sounded sensible and matched my own experiences pretty closely. Today they were talking about the physical side of things, and how stress is constant or at least over-frequent flight/fight triggers, which matches my own experiences well, especially my own early transition experiences. I feel tense, nauseous, and unhappy leaving the house because even with a year and a bit of "no problem" on my side, I still remember and expect the constant hostility that accompanied the first two years.

As an aside, this is a serious problem with the UK's transition pathway. By requiring people to go out and (almost inevitably) fail to be taken seriously in their new lives before offering any of the treatment that might help us actually do that, the GICs are pretty much setting us all up to hate and fear interacting with reality. Cheers, fool doctors!

Anyway... back on topic. The first half of tonight was talking about exercise. Minor issue with the course: it's really longwinded. I can sum up the first half as "Exercise is good. You don't need to be a champion boxer or anything, just try and do few hours of something a week. Even walking". The second half was kind of where things went wrong. There was a "relaxation exercise" at the end. Basically sit there, tensing various parts, then untensing. I can see a certain amount of theoretical sense in that, I think. But for me, it didn't work. I'd tense a body part, feel the physical pain, untense, and be left with an afterimage of the pain. Tensing my fist with its old broken finger was particularly bad. By halfway through I was holding back tears, partly from the pain and partly because I could feel it not working and hating the fact that it didn't. Then at the end, countdown to exit and when I did suddenly I was even less relaxed. Instead of being trapped in "relaxed" space with an overwhelming sense of pain and despair I was back in the real world, and very very angry both with myself for doing it and everyone else who that technique ever worked for because they are so fucking numerous they get taught useful techniques for them while I get to be the freak girl AGAIN who needs to find her own path AGAIN and whose path probably involves being very very angry AGAIN.

So I went home. I sat on the bus, being once again astonished the the depth of my rage was not enough to make buildings explode.

And now... now I'm wondering whether to ever try it again, or to do something more relaxing, like sword forms or punching things. I'm thinking sword forms. Punching might hurt my finger more.
It's been nearly ten years since the pain started.
First a hotness, an irritation, in the knees. That got a little worse, then a little better when I started consciously trying to work my knees, make sure they moved.
The wrists were next, in the summer of 2003. My left was worse than my right, probably because it's movement-related and I'm right handed. It locked up, and I thought it was sprained. A month later and someone pointed out a sprain would have gone by then. It still has bad moments when it locks up, when keeping it still is very painful but moving it is agonising. But it doesn't do that if I keep it moving. If I stretch my hand back, many many times a day. If I lift weights in certain positions. Then it doesn't lock up. Then it is merely painful, all the time.
(I realise as I write this that I might seem slightly hysterical, and I might also seem like I'm overstating things. For the record then, I was in a medieval combat tournament in 2010. In the second fight that day I cracked a rib by falling over with a heavy guy on top of me. I won fights three, four, and five, where five was against the same guy. In the seventh fight that day I broke a finger, and didn't notice. Anyone thinking that I am overstating my pain can therefore fuck right off.)
From the wrists, the pain has spread up and down. My fingers hurt now. My hands too. Sometimes I can feel, in a not-painful but still really icky way, sometimes I can feel all the tendons moving in my hands, feel them sliding through the flesh. It has spread up, too. My elbows do not hurt all the time. Or perhaps sometimes it just does not register. When I am cold, when I am tired, yes.
My hips hurt, too. I do not know if this is related. In relatively recent history I have changed the way I walk, and it's possible that the new gait with greater hip-rotation has caused strain in unaccustomed ways. Sleeping is also harder now, and might be a contributory factor. Flat beds do not mix well with curved bodies. Sexist problems in our furniture, and our only solution is to make nests of pillows. Trust me, it's not as good as having a flat bed and a flat enough body to fit. Still, hips. They hurt, and they will not stop. A hot irritation, to go with all the other hot irritations. A node of sensation to tell me where my body is.

It was over nine years ago that I saw a doctor. He called it rheumatoid arthritis, checked when it had started and that it was more than six months ago (because if it had been less, there would have been a blood test and maybe drugs), and told me to take paracetamol. Since then there have been other doctors. None have done anything useful.

Two years ago I was looking to donate sperm, because while I couldn't afford to save any for my own use, I still had the urge to procreate. It's fair to say my feelings with regards to the value of my own DNA and the value of passing it on were pretty mixed. Nonetheless, I tried, and two fertility clinics (including one that had no donors at all) turned me down, on the grounds that with ME in two close family members and RA in me, clearly my immune system is fucked up.
This is context.

Today I went to see a doctor, again. Today it took fifteen minutes to get anything. First there was a hint of "you're imagining it", followed by a bit of "well if it's so serious, why are you only doing something about it now?". The usual things, in other words. Strange, but doctors don't seem to actually like treating patients, unless they can do it with antibiotics.
Fifteen minutes of argument, rage, and horror later, and I have three conclusions. First, the doctor says it's not RA, it's something else but he has no idea what. Which means (amongst other things) that "being honest" with the sperm donation place was a waste of time that cost me my last chance to procreate. Second, that I still hate dealing with doctors. As a profession I loathe them more than lawyers, and this loathing is based purely on my experiences dealing with them. Third, I have managed to get myself referred for physiotherapy. Whether this will help or not is another question, but it looks like the best bet.

It is just past twelve. So far today I have had a horrible emotional splurge, spent most of an hour crying, and found myself wishing pain on everyone who does not experience on a constant basis, to the point that I would quite like to line up everyone who is not by default in pain and carve holes in them with some sort of sharp instrument just to make a point. And this? This outome? This is the best outcome I have ever had, dealing with doctors on this subject.

Those of you who have read through this and during the whole time of reading have not felt any physical pain - you don't know how lucky you are.

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aumentou

July 2016

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