The chronically unwell face plenty of daily challenges, some big and some small. But my latest battle was brought to my attention by binge-watching a TV series.
I am a huge “Grace and Frankie” fan and have suddenly found my life much more interesting since the new series came out. However, aside from all of the episodes being totally fabulous, the show has brought something to my attention.
I realized after watching the current season to its end that I’m back to my “old life.” I have no more handy distractions, and I have come to see that prior to the series being released, I had been horribly bored.
Because my body cannot cope with actively doing very much, exhaustion traps me in my recliner. Scleroderma has created a great big boredom bubble that confines me.
Reading, doing online jigsaw puzzles, and watching reruns all become tedious after months of the same thing every day. The worst part of this situation is that I end up overthinking everything because I have little else to occupy my thoughts. Small problems become unnecessarily bigger and seemingly unmanageable.
Boredom coupled with too much time to overanalyze things can lead to depression or anxiety, and in turn, to a lack of motivation and chronic sadness.
I was discussing this with one of my dearest friends, who shared how he deals with his boredom. His grandchildren. He is one of the wisest people I know, so my ears pricked up when he explained his theory about boredom and bringing up kids.
He explained that he believes that if children are continually offered something to entertain them (TV, computers, etc.) then they may not learn to become creative by inventing entertaining things to do. He pointed out that creativity is learned and borne out of boredom, as long as the children are allowed to experience it and not offered easy fixes all of the time.
So, I took this little gem of insight, and on further examination, I think he is right.
I have actually been finding ways to live with this disease that have required my creativity and ingenuity for quite some time. For example, I use a height-adjustable computer chair on wheels when I’m too exhausted to bend down and complete low-to-the-ground tasks, such as using a brush and shovel to clean up a spill.
Some of you may know I love to paint rocks, but setting up my paints and actually sitting on a chair at the table to do it had become too exhausting. I made a trolley on wheels with my supplies ready to go so that I can easily access it from my recliner.
Looking back, when things became too hard, I managed to use my creativity to come up with ways to improve the situation. Fabulously, this means that my creative juices must still be flowing.
I have decided that boredom isn’t going to beat me, either. If I can come up with ways to get my bra on in the morning with sore, stiff, and swollen fingers, then surely I can find creative approaches to get on top of the monotony that living with scleroderma brings.
I have made a “boredom buster” list of things I want to do during the day.
Currently, none of them are possible as I don’t have the energy or physical ability. But I decided to figure out creative ways to get around them. Already in my mind, I am devising ways that I can start crocheting again.
Isn’t this the way the world changes? Someone decides to solve a problem or issue, switches on their creative flow, and eventually, an item, event, or process is produced that makes our lives better and provides change and growth for the world.
Perhaps that same process is occurring within me in my single life, and while my creativity may not inspire and change all lives at a global level, it certainly does change and improve my world. I’m so glad I’ve found it again.
Note: Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Scleroderma News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to scleroderma.