Learning to Manage What I Can’t Understand

Learning to Manage What I Can’t Understand
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Life never seems to slow down. Every time I think I have time to take a breath and catch up around the house (you know, cleaning, laundry, dishes …), it’s bedtime and I still have a long list of uncompleted chores.

That used to cause me huge amounts of stress, but I’ve learned to let things go.

As is common for people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), I manage anxiety. For me, the physical aspect is tied to the mental and emotional side. If I have a pain flare, it affects me mentally.

Little things used to become big things, and that’s where I’ve made progress. If my laundry doesn’t get washed for another day, so what? It’s not like it’s going anywhere. Or if I’m tired and decide to have cereal for dinner, does it matter? Nope — as long as I have enough milk left for my coffee the next morning.

EDS can cause stress. How much exercise is too much? How do you balance the need for lots of sleep with a busy world that doesn’t care if you deal with chronic exhaustion? Should I try a new activity, or is the risk of injury too great?

There are no easy answers, and that can be tough. I like answers, and I struggle when I don’t understand something. I can’t say that’s a great trait for the hectic, upside-down world that we live in, but that’s how I am. I like to know. I want to understand. Instead of instant gratification, I’ll happily wait if it means I get an answer that I can analyze and process. Then I can move on.

The problem is that EDS isn’t analyzable. What works for me might not work for you. I might have greater issues with bruising and muscle tightness. Someone else might have the most trouble with joint dislocations.

EDS has forced me to accept things that I can’t understand. I admit that I don’t do it happily. And I will analyze an issue until I have convinced myself that I can’t figure it out. Only then can I grudgingly push it aside.

I’m still a Type A personality, but maybe I’ve moved to a Type A-minus. It’s OK to have wiggle room. Sometimes, you have to let things go or be bothered by them day after day.

Maybe EDS forcing me to let go is a good thing. I can carry that lesson into other areas of my life as well.

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Note: Ehlers-Danlos 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 Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.

An avid equestrian and educator, Karen has been a columnist at BioNews since 2019. She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in 2009 after a years-long search for a diagnosis that explained her symptoms. Karen enjoys working with her students, riding and caring for her two horses, Cherry and Spotty, and connecting with others in the rare disease community through her work with BioNews.
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An avid equestrian and educator, Karen has been a columnist at BioNews since 2019. She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in 2009 after a years-long search for a diagnosis that explained her symptoms. Karen enjoys working with her students, riding and caring for her two horses, Cherry and Spotty, and connecting with others in the rare disease community through her work with BioNews.
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