Day 12: Tackling the emotional strain along with the physical pain

Man, am I looking forward to that first pain-free day. Over the last few months I have managed to get what was excruciating pain every evening, down to a very low-level pain that sometimes for long stretches of the day isn’t even detectable. I managed this first through eating a paleo diet, and now by eating a stricter version of paleo called Autoimmune Protocol, designed specifically to omit potential problem foods in the elimination phase and start to reintroduce them after about two months of eating in this way.

The AIP diet is supposed to be a temporary diet and it’s not been an easy transition… as some of my previous posts will tell you. But one of the positives this diet has brought to me is a more in-depth awareness of my pain levels. I don’t know why this would be other than to assume that because the diet I am eating is far more clean, I am made more aware of my body’s reaction to certain foods. But I don’t know for sure.

But what I have noticed (and looking back at my pain level diary over the last 12 days) is that I tend to wake up with a little bit of pain in the morning, which eases off throughout the day and often leaves me pain-free until the evening when the pain can start to pick up again. The amount of pain I get in the evening seems to be directly linked to how much fruit I eat (excluding pears, honeydew melon, and blueberries), which points to sugar as a potential suspect.

Today is the first day I have managed to avoid all pain from lunchtime all the way into the evening (it is now 10pm). Being aware of my normal pattern of pain, this slight change, however small, gives me hope that a totally pain-free day may not be too far out of reach.

And I really need that hope at the moment. Because as well as the obvious negative aspects of being in pain, i.e. it doesn’t feel very nice to be in pain when you’re experiencing it in the moment, being in pain every day for such a long time is also very tiring. In fact, it’s exhausting, it’s depressing, and it never leaves your mind even when you can’t feel it in your body. Because you know it’s going to be back again tomorrow.

The wedge such intimate pain drives between you and your partner can be devastating. Women with Interstitial Cystitis cite again and again the dissolution of intimacy in their close relationships as one of the most upsetting side effects of the condition. This can lead to distance between you and your partner, which in turn can lead to even more emotional strain.

One of the things I’ve noticed more since starting the AIP diet is that along with the emotional effects pain has on you, I have also begun to feel more insecure in myself, more irrational, irritable, and even a little bit paranoid. These are characteristics that are completely at odds with my personality. But it’s the pain, the obsession of trying to get rid of it, and the knowledge that this is frustrating fro Boyfriend also that is causing these negative affects.

Because the pain (and now your next meal) is the only thing you can think about, it also feels like it’s the only thing you ever talk about. Gone is much of the frivolous chattiness, if not openly, then at least in your mind. Every anecdote in a friend’s story reminds you of the things that are banned to you now. The birthday cake, the late night pizza, the nursing a hangover – OK, I don’t miss everything – all these things remind you of your pain, because they are some of the causes of it.

Going back to ‘the obsession of trying to get rid of’ the pain again, I do think that the emotional strain almost increases the more effort you put into it. The more times you put your all into something and it doesn’t work, the more disappointing it becomes and your hope erodes a little bit more.

So, bring on the first pain-free day. And as always, let’s try and stay optimistic. Today saw a change in my pain pattern. Maybe tomorrow will be my first pain-free day in over a year.

Food diary
Breakfast: Black forest berry and avocado smoothie
Lunch: Leftover sea bass and roasted eddoes
Dinner: Maple sausage patties and sweet potato mash
Snacks: 2 pears and 2 glasses of coconut water

Pain level (out of 10)
Started off at about 3 or 4 and eased off towards lunch to about a 1. Managed to keep it down to 0 or 1 all afternoon and right through to the evening 🙂


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