Inside the Kaleidoscope of Fibro & Creativity: Time

There’s a peculiar way in which pain can twist the ragged fabric of time between its fingers, distorting the perception of days and weeks, shortening or elongating moments with indifferent impunity.

Imaginations and Objects of the Future "Melting Space-Time" (Salvador Dali | Lithograph)
Imaginations and Objects of the Future “Melting Space-Time”
(Salvador Dali | Lithograph)

She sits on the edge of her bed, the room pitch black, the only sound is a faint hum of the furnace, but she swears she can hear her own heart — it’s not beating but rather talking quietly — quiet but insistent, it is trying to explain to her how annoyed it feels by the way insomnia has of jostling her from a jostled sleep. Yes, I know. I’m annoyed, too. She looks at the clock, and it’s just after two — has it really been several hours since she finally, fitfully dozed? Well, glad it is closer to sleep than to waking. She sits on the edge of her bed, only another handful of moments have passed, it seems, but no — the room is light, birds are busy at the window, and it is time to move again, time to face another day — where is the energy she should have gained in the night?

People are the least creative when fighting the clock . . . Time pressure stifles creativity because people can’t deeply engage with the problem. (Teresa Amabile)

This may be true, but unfortunately for the person who has Fibromyalgia, fighting the clock may be a 24/7/365 situation, so how does one not lose all ability to engage, all possibility of creativity?

Of course, everyone talks about the modern phenomenon of “never enough time,” supposedly thanks to constant stimulation by media, expectations to “succeed” in a certain way in career or family, or just inability to focus long enough to make the most of the time that is available. Of course, we have plenty of time, probably, if we compare ourselves to those in the past or in other parts of the world who fill their days top to bottom with subsistence.

I think the way time interacts with the Fibromite is another layer more complex, as there is always the slow passage of time when pain and/or fatigue is high and the fast passage of time when those darkened tides wash out (even a little, even for a little while). Einstein described time passing more quickly in the presence of a pretty girl, and I think this is the same . . . it’s relativity . . . any moment where there is a bit of energy to be creative feels like it evaporates faster than seems possible, and any moment when flaming pain is blazing through your nerves seems to linger . . . like a panting dog lingers near water on a hot day, uncomfortably.

I am trying to somehow learn how to parlay the painful, exhausted, foggy time into setup for more productive “good” times . . . what are some ways to make that happen? Lists? Journaling? Stream-of-Consciousness Recording? Is part of the equation simply acceptance that my process may look different than those who are “healthy”? Is there a hidden blessing in the limitations, forcing me to appreciate? I reject the “too-easy” answers.

The Kaleidoscope shifts — grains of sand fall as radiant drops of sunlight — marking seconds — tic, toc, tic, toc.


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