The Best Self-Care Method Isn’t Apparent

I’m having trouble knowing what the right thing to do is, right now.

I’m on a break from lifting, because of a disc herniation. I just started physical therapy for it. I know that if I allow the herniation to worsen, the consequences could be pretty serious.

But I am feeling challenged in this moment, because without being able to lift regularly, I notice that I have back pain a lot more frequently, and I feel sadness or anxiety much of the time. Lifting was my primary way of managing both back pain and depression, and without it, those symptoms are coming back. That scares me. It makes me feel anxious as I ask myself “am I doing the right thing here,” knowing that the consequences can be serious if I make the wrong decision. Which makes it a vicious cycle.

I’m considering going back on antidepressants for the first time in over a decade, because I don’t have my primary depression management tool available to me right now.

I’m also considering waiting another week or so. It happens to be the busiest month of the year for me at work, so I know I am under a lot of pressure right now and that could also be a contributing factor.

I’m also considering going rogue and doing some lifting again. Only certain lifts that won’t put pressure on my spine (no back squats!), and only at 50% of the weights I normally lift, to see if it makes a difference in my mental symptoms and/or back pain, without worsening my nerve symptoms.

I’ve written before about how keeping my body a comfortable place to live is my primary motivation right now. I feel worried that the best way to do that right now is unclear. I feel scared that I might not feel well for a while and there may be nothing I can do about that, other than do what I can so I don’t get even worse.

Today’s self care plans include my physical therapy exercises, a swim, a visit to the garden. Possibly some bodyweight strength work while I am at the park. My husband is on vacation from work this week, and my kiddo is currently all about dad, so I should get some peace and quiet too.

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