Yesterday’s experiment went so well, I went ahead and bought a set of sleep supports to wear on my feet at night:
I’m not sure if these are better or worse than what else is out there. They were soft and comfortable to wear until three in the morning, and then my body tried to fight off ALL of the supports I was wearing—wrists AND ankles.
Between two and three in the morning seems to be my “witching hour,” the time at night when my body tightens up and causes me grief. My hands try to turn into claws, fingertips curling in towards my forearms. My toes want to curl up like a ballet dancer on point. My calf muscles stiffen. Hubby says it’s as if rigor mortis is setting in. LOL My whole body tries to tighten up and curl into a ball. It’s both painful and frustrating.
However, my feet are feeling good this morning. My hands are fine. (But I’ve been using wrist supports at night for years.) I feel like I’m walking taller, as though my alignment has improved from my feet, to my knee, to my hips. That was surprising!
I noticed some slight pain in the bottom of my heels when I first got out of bed, but it went away after twenty minutes or so. MUCH better than my typical mornings! I also seem to have more flexibility in my ankle. Another surprise.
I suspected my feet were curling up at night, causing pain during my waking hours. It appears my suspicions were correct—just like my hands. At one point, my wrists were so sore and stiff, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do! I couldn’t type on a keyboard. I couldn’t rotate my wrist to take the lid off of a jar, etc. It was scary!!! It didn’t occur to me that I was doing damage to myself when I slept, that I was actually injuring myself and didn’t know it. You would think you’d KNOW if you were hurting yourself, right? But, I was asleep. I didn’t know! I only knew that my pain was typically worse in the mornings.
This makes me wonder…how common is this? I can’t be the only one. This also explains why shoe supports and insoles didn’t do much for me, but strengthening the muscles in my feet and legs helped.
I feel like I should be happy that I found a solution, but instead of joy and relief, I feel…FEAR. I see how fragile my health is, how human I am. It scares me! The physical impediments that can come with age frighten me. I don’t mind aging. I’m afraid of losing control. I’m afraid that one day, something bad will happen to me, health-related, and there WON’T be a simple solution. I’m afraid I’ll have to rely on other people to help me, and that terrifies me!!! And yes, my mind can tell me not to worry. My mind can rationalize an argument as if it were trying to win a court case. However, I think my heart knows a different kind of wisdom. The truth is, one day…I will die. One day, if I live long enough, I will need to rely on others for help.
If I listen to my fear, feel my fear…my heart knows that most of my need to control is rather pointless. It’s a thinly veiled illusion. (That’s scary, too!) The little girl inside me is afraid of getting sick because my mother was SO sick with Multiple Sclerosis. She saw first-hand what happens when someone she loves is sick with an incurable disease. Adult me held my mother’s hand when my mother left this world.
Adult me KNOWS death in a personal way. Death is NOT scary. The anticipation of death, of knowing it might be around the next corner, is scary. But I wasn’t afraid when my mother made the transition from life to death. At my core, I knew it was the most natural thing in this world, the flip side of being born. We knew her death was coming. She had loved ones around her—much like a birth.
I think I’m afraid that if I ever get sick like my mother, I will be a burden to my family. But my mother WASN’T a burden. Her fear of being a burden was the problem. Her fear molded her decisions. Her fear was a weight on our family, like a tangible thing.
I am not my mother. I am not my parents. I am not a little girl. Yes, I have pain. And fear. But I’m trying something new, rather than running from emotions I don’t like—fear, anger, sadness, etc—rather than pushing them down or ignoring them, I’m trying to learn what I can from them. I am still very new at this, but it seems to be helping. It’s rather freeing to acknowledge that I am afraid, to allow myself to feel this emotion, and not force myself into happiness instead.