A New Year With CRPS, A New Start
By Samantha Anderson
2018 is coming up quickly. With a new year, everyone is thinking of restarting and having a better year. For those of us with CRPS, we’re looking for hope while also looking to improve our lives through a new years resolution. Let’s talk about the changes we can make.
There are typically two types of people in this world. There are those that boast “New Year, new me” at the strike of midnight on January 1, and then there are those that roll their eyes and say that a new year is only a change of numbers. I, for one, am in between those people. I’m not an optimist and I’m not a pessimist. I like think of myself as a Samanthaist. Regardless, 2018 is coming up quickly. 2017 was quite a year. Some will say it was the best year, some will say it was the worst, and others will say it was not particularly memorable. My thought is I want something positively memorable every year, even through the bad. So, how can we all move towards making our 2018 a year that is positively memorable?
With CRPS, we may not be able to set the typical resolutions for ourselves. For example, we may not be able to say we want to go to the gym every day or run a marathon this year. But, that is okay. Being normal is vastly overrated (if you can name that movie, you’re awesome). We can set “small” goals for ourselves. I say “small” because that is in the eye of the beholder. You can set a number of goal that lead to one larger goal, or you can set a goal that others may consider small, but that you may consider monumental. This could be a goal of eating better, educating others on CRPS, watching less television, having family time once a week. It is important for us to have goals. Having something to work towards can make us feel good. We may have to overcome more setbacks than a “normal” person, but we are all strong. Yes, I know sometimes it is so hard to feel strong, but you are strong. You can reach these goals you set for yourself. Just make them reasonable!
Personally, my New Years Resolution is to be happier. What does this mean? To find the things that make me happy and engage in them. Seeing my nieces and nephews more is a part of that, as they do nothing but make me laugh. Getting out of the house more and getting fresh air while I take my camera out for a spin could help as well. Some days, these things may not be possible. That’s when I can find the little things that make me happy. Cuddling with my dog, playing Monopoly with my husband, and coloring or crocheting in my alone time can help fill the times when I cannot be as active as I would like. It also means doing some hard work of getting rid of the things that bring me down. I learned in 2017 that the people that bring you down, especially the ones that bring you down for having Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, are not worth the tears or frustration.
How can you set a resolution that is appropriate for you? Take out a piece of paper. Write a list of the top 5-10 things that happened to you this year. Write 3 things that you wished had happened in 2017. Write down 2 dreams for the future. Use those as a guide to determine even a small action that you can do to set your New Year’s Resolution, which will be your 1 goal. If the goal is huge, break it down into smaller steps and try to accomplish those through the year. Maybe your big goal is to go on a trip. You can start saving, book hotels and transportation, plan an itinerary that works with your body, and more as you go through the year. Creating smaller goals that lead up to your big resolution will help everything be more manageable and may reduce stress. But there’s nothing wrong if you can’t complete your New Years resolution this year. It’s just something to work towards.
Here at RSDSA, we have goals, too. We want to raise more awareness through the country (and the world) about CRPS. We want to make sure that we reach more people in the CRPS community that may not have heard of us before. RSDSA wants to make sure resources are available to all those affected by Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Our publications can be helpful in a variety of situations, including hospital visits. RSDSA wants to support members of the CRPS community to make sure they know that they are strong and that there is hope. This goes for caregivers as well. Having hope is so important for all of us. We also strive to continue to raise funds to help us reach our various initiatives and to help fund research for better treatments. To do this, we need your help. Encourage friends and family to make donations, hold a fundraising event, and event participate in one of our conferences. You are the key to our success.
We hope that 2018 brings all of our friends with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome lowered pain levels, great feelings of support, and happiness.