Having lived with chronic pain for almost a decade I’ve been very aware of the limits on ability and energy subsequent to pain. Pain takes an enormous amount of energy to live with. The amount of energy on any given day varies greatly with the level and type of pain as well as how many continuous days the pain level has been high. The higher the pain level the less the energy, the more days the pain level has been high the less the energy. Consequently boundary setting is not clear cut.
Certain boundaries are clear. Walking up a mountain or up a steep slope is not possible without provoking a spike in pain that may be long lasting. Standing to chat or cook or wait in a line for more than a few minutes will also aggravate pain. Sitting for too long or on hard surfaces is a trigger. Twisting or turning, bending over, picking up something heavy even while engaging core strength and good body mechanics, all these activities are known factors in causing pain spikes and thus I try to accommodate.
I find it challenging to set boundaries unless the pain level is so high there is no dismissing it. The challenge comes in wanting to move and be active, to take care of my home, garden, plants, etc. To see friends, go for walks, go to events in company and so on. There is a fine balance here in doing to little and doing to much and I hear over and over, and know, only I can be the judge, yet sometimes I don’t know! I don’t know the balance. Balance in my experience is going to far in one direction then too far in the other. This has consequences with pain, body strength and resilience. There are also consequences to the psyche and spirit, subjects for another blog!