Thursday, December 3, 2015

Weather's Effect on Chronic Pain and Depression

I have been thinking a lot about the weather the last few weeks. We have had temperatures from 6-70 degrees (F.) in November. Yes, I do mean six. Tuesday, the 24th, was 21 degrees and it was 55 degrees on Friday, the 27th. It has also gone from sunny to gray and all shades in between. 

Source: Clipart Panda
The changing temperatures cause achy joints and/or muscles. If you have a dual diagnosis of fibromyalgia and arthritis, you ache all over. I long for a jetted tub on those days. 

I have found it is useless to make plans; I was supposed to help with a craft station today, but could not make it out. I told my friend she should call me at the last minute so she does not count on me and neither of us is disappointed. She said, "And we will sneak up on your body." 

The cold and damp keeps many of inside when we really need to get some sunlight. Also, some of us have trouble driving when it is dark outside; the shortened hours of sunlight and long, black hours also keep us inside. There is a good reason the acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder is SAD. Where I live in the USA, we have been known to go all February without seeing sunshine.

(For those that may not know about SAD, it is depression brought about by the lack of sunlight and long hours spent isolated indoors. For most, this occurs in the winter, but some have SAD in summer, also. Some people, like me, are kept indoors due to allergies.)

So, what can we do? Be kind to ourselves. 

Heating pads, ice packs, creams that go on cool but heat up, acetaminophen or NSAIDS, and hot cocoa (with or without marshmallows). On the old-fashioned, but effective, side, a hot-water bottle.

Count our spoons and choose the wisest use for them. If you cannot get out, use Facetime or Skype or Messenger or what-have-you to keep in touch with people if you are having a hard time getting out. Join support groups or interest groups to meet new people. 

Most of all, "Enjoy!" all you can.