Today was a mash-up. I learned four different ways to relax: Mindfulness, chi gong, Feldenkrais, and just plain “relaxation training,” where I learned how to relax when someone next to you is aggressively snoring and someone else is shouting at you to “Let your body become loose and limp and relax into the floor!”
The best part of my day was having a sunny lunch on the grass with Becky, Henry, and James, who all began the program with me. Becky is smart and empathetic. Henry is young, friendly, and boisterous, but a little hard to read. James is big and casual and warm and passed out green tea Kit Kats for dessert. We had an exciting conversation about pain. Our experiences are so similar. And we are all really hard on ourselves. Makes me think chronic pain has a personality type.
My occupational therapist is working with me to increase my sitting tolerance and to get me to gradually ditch my wheelchair. I got confused talking to her. She says things that are perfectly reasonable, but in a way that puts me on the defensive. I am just getting to know everyone, and of course, there are people I like, people I understand, and people I don’t like and don’t understand. Yet.
Just being at the program feels like it’s challenging my nervous system to adapt to more social interaction, conversation, and activity then it was used to. That feels useful.
Plus, my doctor looks like a little boy who grew into a man overnight. When he’s thinking he shuts his eyes, crinkles his face, and hums. Which is endearing but weird.