Robbing Peter to pay Paul

One of the most frustrating aspects of living with chronic pain is knowing that no matter how careful I plan an outing or how gently I treat my body, any activity outside of “normal” will result in excruciating pain.   Those who do not know my pain do not understand how activities like sitting for two hours at a planning meeting,  sitting for two hours under the stars at a concert, or how sitting in traffic to and from the beach can be so taxing on my body.  But it is.  Last week I had the pleasure of singing at church.  I love singing and have been singing since I was in 6th grade.  While the extra time spent there to practice before the service would have had me at my limit, I was riding an emotional high and talked myself into staying for a planning meeting.  Huge mistake!!!  By the time I reached home my pain level was beyond what I could handle and my body demanded that I sleep.  There was no choice.  I slept the rest of the day away.  Thankfully my husband stepped up and prepared dinner for our family, because if it had been up to me, I would have ended up throwing a head of lettuce at them while crying out “Dinner is served”.  By Thursday my pain decreased.  I could finally cope without tears.

Anytime I push past what I can normally handle, my quality of life takes a nose dive.  I suffer.  My family suffers.  Not wanting a repeat of last week I had to make a decision regarding this weekend.  Go to church on Sunday or enjoy an outdoor concert under the stars with my family on Saturday.  This week I chose the concert.  I am feeling a bit beat up this morning, but feel confident that I won’t be at the level of despair that I was in last week.  Could I have pushed myself to join my family in church this morning?  Sure, but then I would be robbing them and myself of precious time during the upcoming week.

I dislike having to choose one outing.  There are some who think that if I could handle going to a concert I should be able to also attend church.  I wish it were that easy.  I try not to let what others think get to me, but that is a different beast.  Each week I feel like I am either robbing my family, friends, or myself to do just one thing with one family member, one friend, or to do something just for me.  Juggling finances is hard enough.  Juggling my energy is just as hard if not harder.  I can always borrow money, but there is no way to borrow spoons.  I must wait for my spoons to replenish on their own time table.

Last week reminded me that I must stand firm and not be afraid to say NO!  I have made it clear that whenever I sing at church, I will be leaving the moment the service ends.  This weekend I chose to spend a special evening with my husband and daughter listening to fabulous music outside, under the stars.  I haven’t decided who I will rob next week.  Depends on who needs me the most or where I want to be.

What did you do this weekend?  Who did you have to rob to make it happen?

I wish you all the best week possible.

Gentle Hugs,

The Disabled Diva


Published by Cynthia Covert

Diagnosed in 2001 with psoriasis, followed by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and later a botched hysterectomy turned her world upside down. Cynthia shares her experience, advice, and tips for how to make life with chronic pain easier and less painful.

One thought on “Robbing Peter to pay Paul

  1. I know exactly how you feel. Chronic pain/illness leaves you to pick and choose how to use your energy, while everyone else has to choose how to use their time. They understand when you say you don’t have time, but when they see you “just sitting at home” they assume you have the time to do what you want. It can be hard.

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