CHRONIC PAIN AND MOVING - THE EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL ASPECTSLiving with chronic pain alters many things in one’s life. Some are minor changes, some are major changes. Most recently, one of the changes in our life is that we have decided to sell our home and move to a smaller home. This sure adds yet another loss to the new "normal" chronic pain brings as discussed in the post, A LOOK AT OUR LOSSES .
One of the many things I have learned over the past few years, following several chronic pain groups, is that many sufferers have made the same decision for various reasons. Of the many reasons given were loss of income leading to losing their home, needing to move into something more affordable, such as a less inexpensive home, selling and moving to an apartment, as well as finding out ones home is just too big to manage and needing to downsize.
Whatever the reason for moving, one thing that is verbalized by everyone is the horrendous struggle this involves both physically, as well as emotionally! I now know what they had been talking about! It is extremely stressful dealing with all the various tasks involved, as well as trying to downsize our belongings!
Last time I moved I was in my last semester of college, with classes, doing an internship and trying to study, while preparing our new home to move into by painting most of the 2400 sq feet, picking out carpets, furniture and appliances, as well as packing up the old home! My major problem was not just having enough time to get it all done, but burning muscles, as well as my brain being on overload and desperately needing sleep. I remember hitting my limit one day while painting. I longingly looked over at my sleeping bag lying across the room on the floor I kept for late nights of working. I climbed off the ladder, set down my roller, climbed into it and crashed. Right there in the middle of the afternoon! I just couldn’t continue anymore! I was just done!
That was then and this is now! What a difference chronic pain made in my life! It leaves one yearning for days of being able to mulit-task like that! To just be physically and mentally exhausted! Nowadays, if I was feeling like that I'd yell, "I'm healed!"
As many of you know, living with chronic pain makes it hard enough to be able to function in performing the “simple” tasks of being able to take care of yourself! (Not to mention the extreme difficulties of the day to day activities of keeping up a home). I don't have to go into all the minuscule details. You completely get it! It is a hard reality to realize that performing the "simple" activities of daily living and then attempting to go through the entire belongings in one’s home to downsize is almost physically impossible to accomplish!
According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, (http://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/) adding moving to the multiple other stressors in life would undeniably move one up on the stress scale for sure! And to deal with chronic pain with all this, it brings yet even more stress to one’s life!
Not only is it physically strenuous for anyone, but it is especially more so for someone already living in chronic pain! It is potentially harmful to one’s body to go through everything, one item at a time, box it all up, haul it off and undo all that in reverse to settle into a new place. Then you have to take in the emotional distress all this brings!
We spent many years redoing our "fixer-upper" into "our home" for our family! Ones home and belongings have a connection deep within ones soul that is hard to let go of. As I sort through things to throw away, giveaway, sell and keep, I find myself reminiscing over my “stuff!" Some items are like symbols that bring cherished memories and emotions that have been weaved through my heart!
While exploring the Internet for tips on moving I came across this article, “Three Tips to Stay Grounded During a Move”, by Maria Schriver, (http://mariashriver.com/blog/2011/09/three-tips-stay-grounded-during-move/), where she discusses, “Transitions, by definition, are times of change, and nobody likes change. Human beings are creatures of habit, comfort, and familiarity. We like our routines and most people gravitate to a life of predictable structure. We take emotional refuge in keeping physical order in our homes and mental refuge in knowing that everything has its place. So what happens when you move? In a word: chaos. With your physical world turned upside down, your inner world tends to follow suit.” That makes a lot of sense to me!
It doesn't take any boxes or moving vans to take with you what really matters to ones heart! All the "stuff" in the boxes doesn’t go with us in the end. As I’ve heard my mom say many times over the years, “You never see a moving van being hauled by a hearse.” Makes you really put into perspective the significant things of life!
My next blog post will have moving tips for those living with chronic pain. MOVING TIPS FOR THOSE LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN