What the rides at Disneyland have taught me about my conditions

wpid-imag2917_1.jpgThis morning someone sent me an analogy on Twitter comparing having Fibromyalgia and riding Space Mountain.  They tweeted that having Fibromyalgia and riding Space Mountain are the same as there are lots of ups and downs, tight curves, but no way to see them coming.  This is spot on!! However it is how we choose to face those ups, downs, and curves while in the dark that will either terrify us or give us strength.  Although I have been visiting the park since the mid 80’s, I have only been an Annual Passholder for the past year and a half.  During this time I have learned so much about my body and its conditions.  Here’s a breakdown of what I have learned from a handful of rides.

Space Mountain:  I couldn’t ride this attraction if it weren’t for medicating with MMJ.  I use Indica Cheeba Chews through out my day at the park, this medication serves as a muscle relaxer allowing me to enjoy fast rides without experiencing severe muscle spasms or having my shoulders or neck seize up.  I almost gave up on this ride a little less than a year ago because I was experiencing motion sickness.  Not one to give up, I decided to try riding it with my eyes closed.  This totally worked for me!!  In fact I find the turns and dips to be less terrifying when my eyes are closed!  This ride has taught me that no matter how scary my conditions can be at times, quite often I can get through them with a little MMJ, closing my eyes, and allowing my body to adjust.

Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and Indiana Jones:  These three rides have one thing in common for me.  If I hold onto the safety bars while riding my neck and shoulders will seize up, even when medicated.  My solution for this is to not hold on.  My hand are always in the air on these rides.  Not only does this help with my neck and shoulders, but because my core is what has to work overtime by twisting with each turn and dip, it also helps loosen my abdominal adhesions.  This is so much better than having to go through a surgery that will only produce more adhesions.  These rides along with Space Mountain also quench my need for speed.  Being that I move slower than most I am often annoyed and frustrated that I can’t move faster.  After each ride I am reminded that my body can’t tolerate a fast paced life and I appreciate the slow times that my body forces upon me.  As these slow times give me the opportunity to see things that I would have just whizzed by in the past.

Dumbo:  While not a thrill ride, Dumbo has taught me something very important.  Riding Dumbo has made me realize how important it is to relax, feel the breeze in my hair, and to take in the beauty that is all around me.




The handicapped alternative viewing for Nemo’s Submarine and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle:  From these I have learned that it is okay to accept that there are some things that I can not do.  But just because I can’t do something like everyone else it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an alternative.

Tower of Terror:  This ride has taught me that it is okay to be terrified of something that causes an extreme physical reaction.  The sad part is that I love this ride, but my body hates it.  When I last rode it, my body shook and trembled for close to 15 minutes.  Not riding this attraction doesn’t mean that I fear it, instead it means that I respect my body enough to not put it through that kind of torture.  This way of thinking follows me out of the parks and into my real life.  My life has improved so much by not pushing my body to do what it is physically not capable of, no matter how much I think I want to do it.

The Little Mermaid and The Frozen Sing-a-long: These attractions have taught me to let loose and to sing loudly!  They have taught me that I shouldn’t let my physical pain stop me from doing things that I used to enjoy and still can if I allow myself to!

Radiator Racers:  This ride has taught me to go with the flow.  Sometimes life moves very slowly or it zooms full speed ahead. I never know which doors will open in my life or what opportunities lie behind them.  Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose, but what really matters is that I tried.

Like I have said before, Disneyland is a form of both physical and mental therapy for me.  Too bad I can’t deduct my pass as a medical expense!!!

Wishing you a day filled with gentle hugs and Pixie dust!

The Disable 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.

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