Numbers aren't always easy to use when relating to our pain and numbers mean different things for different people...leaving pain open to interpretation of the person experiencing it...or those trying to understand it.
But what if we were to think of our pain like a stop light?
When I saw the stop light, I thought it made describing my pain a lot easier and I began using it to help me communicate to those around me what kind of day I'm having. It beats counting spoons (which I cannot do when in a brain fog)...I can remember colours much easier than I do math some days. And on the days when one part of me is a smiling 3 and another is a screaming 7, it allows me to average the pain instead of specifying it (which my brain also struggles to do when swamped).
Give it some thought...
Red for the days when you're just done and you need to recover...days where you find your abilities are gone and you're struggling...days when your needs and pain are higher than normal...days when you just can't...days when you need to be loved a little more.
Yellow for the days when you need to use a little more of your coping skills...days when you need to be more mindful of your limitations and needing to work within them...days when you are a little slower and may need some help.
Green for the days when you're on top of your pain and things are going good. Yes there will still be pain on these days too but it's well within your control...your emotions are smiling and your thoughts are positive. When you're having a green day...you almost feel like your old self again. These are the days we tend to abuse and over use...causing ourselves to experience a red or even a yellow day(s) later.
And if I may....it's during the red and yellow days when you really need to take the time to be aware of your needs and your pain...taking breaks as you need them...soothing yourself. You need to take the time to nurture yourself...caring for your body's needs...being patient with your limitations and gentle with the words you use when talking with yourself. Focus on what your body needs to recover. OH! and you need to communicate that to those around you. (lots of needs eh?)
Some people use spoons, others use their verbal words, and I like the stop light. Whichever you use to communicate your pain levels and needs to others...it helps too if you've explained things. Don't just expect them to understand without an explanation okay? And while you're giving the explanation...also provide the things you need from this person during each colour or spoon used.
We can learn how to communicate with each other and we can help those around us to better understand what we're going through. What works best for you and yours? Give it some thought okay? And give thought too to what you can do differently moving forward.
take good care of you and each other please