Remembering to Breathe

Inhale, 2, 3, 4.

Exhale, 5, 6, 7, 8.

I have not been doing this very well lately.

It’s been more:

Inhale234

Exhale5678

OkI’mDoneNow!

I have been so happy to have energy and motivation, even in prime Fall-Slide season (*Nic note: Fall Slide= when the season changes from summer to fall, and the change in weather causes all of your carefully crafted Chronic progress to slide off a cliff.), that I have been neglecting the very thing that got me here:

Breathing.

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“Hulk no Smash. Hulk no Smash. Hulk…maybe Smash a little.”

Yep, it’s a Hulk day, kids, because I’m talking about Biofeedback! (To read all about how I’ve designated my medical team as different members of the Avengers, check out Avengers Assemble: https://iamchronicallywell.com/2014/07/21/avengers-assemble/ )

First of all, what is Biofeedback?

Bopfeedback-loop

The simplest way to explain it is that Biofeedback is a training program in which you “train” your body to become less reactive to things like stress, pain and tension. This is achieved through breathing practice, with occasional guided meditation or fun “brain games” designed to help you use your brain to change your bodily reactions. In order to track your progress, a patient is hooked up to a monitor, and their breathing rate, heart beat, body temperature, and skin conductants (sweating) are recorded. It’s non-invasive, and deceptively simple.

You just breathe, right?

Kind of…

There are different types of breathing. First, there is the kind of breathing that most people are used to, but is not the best way to do it: Chest breathing. Put your hand on your heart, Pledge of Allegiance-style. Does it move up and down? It probably does. This is stressful breathing. Don’t feel bad, we all get stuck there at some point or another.

What this type of breathing means is that you aren’t taking full or deep breaths. Your breathing rate is probably pretty quick, too. When you breathe this way, it’s a signal to your physiological system that you are about to be attacked, thanks to the flight or fight reaction we all have hard-wired. If you were running away from a sabertooth tiger right now, this kind of quick-pace breathing would be helpful, as it signals a release of running away/fighting hormones like adrenaline, which you would need in a sabertooth tiger situation.

Except, there are no sabertooth tigers (your boss doesn’t count!) and you don’t need to jump up and fight to the death or run for your life right this second when you are, say, writing a blog post (at least I would hope not!).

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Super glad these guys are extinct!

If you are breathing this way, day in and day out, with no legit-sabertooth-reason, you are stressing your body, BIG TIME. Excess adrenaline, cortisol, and all their other little stress-hormone friends need something to do. If you are not having a caveman moment, they have to find something else to do to occupy their time. This is when they decide things like your immune system would be fun to beat up instead.

I prefer my immune system unbullied, thank you very much.

So, I have been working with a biofeedback therapist for a while now, to learn to breathe correctly and allow my body to find its natural calm again.

If you are looking for a review of biofeedback and need a quick recommendation here it is:

It works, it works, it works. Do it, do it, do it. You will be SO GLAD you did.

What does breathing correctly look like?

Put your hand on your chest again. Now, put the other one on your abdomen, at right about or just above your belly button. That’s where your diaphragm is. Focus on breathing into your belly button. THAT hand should move, not the one on your chest.

Congratulations! You’ve just practiced abdominal/diaphagmatic breathing, the least stressful way to breathe.

Feels weird right?

Of course it does! You’ve been breathing wrong since you had to take the SAT in high school! Or longer, who knows?

If you have access to a baby (Wow, THAT sounds weird. I mean if you know one, or are babysitting or have any other legitimate reason to be around an infant), watch how they breathe, especially when they sleep. Those cute little tummies are just plugging away, puffing up on the inhales and emptying out on the exhales.

Baby-Sleep

#Jealous

Babies do not have excess adrenaline problems.

If you work with a biofeedback therapist, while you are re-learning how to breathe correctly, you will be able to see, through the power of just a few wires stuck to you and then plugged into a computer, how much of a difference changing your breath makes to your physiological system.

For instance, after a few minutes and a guided meditation (more on that in a minute), my body temperature rises (a good thing- blood vessel constriction is a symptom of tension and makes you cold in your extremities), my heart rate slows, and my sweaty palms get ahold of themselves and ease up on the clamminess.

Now, do you need a monitor to show you that? Not necessarily, if you are extraordinarily self-disciplined and incredibly in-tune with your body rhythms. But if that’s you, I don’t think you really need biofeedback in the first place… It is so helpful and motivating to see the power you have to change how you feel, all lit up on an easy to read monitor.

You see, as a Chronic, it is far too simple to lose all sense of control over yourself.

Why wouldn’t it be? It feels like this illness or illnesses (don’t they always seem to come with a plus-one?) just showed up one day and took over. Your body quickly becomes this thing, separate from You, that doesn’t listen to what you say, think, wish, or desire. If you let that type of thinking take root in your brain (I have no control, ever!), it’s going to be a long hard road for you, Friend (said the wise, old Voice of Experience).

For me, biofeedback reminded me in a big, bold way that I still get to have power here. It may not feel like it all the time, but I do still wield some control. I can choose at any time to slow myself down, breathe correctly, and therefore influence how my body is acting.

Oh, so wonderful a feeling!

And if it’s so wonderful, you’d think I’d be doing it all the time, right?

Well…

I may have kinda-sorta fallen off the wagon…

I’ve been distracted!

I’ve had so much going on!

My breathing practice has gone from a strict two- 20 minute sessions daily to a sporadic couple of times a week.

I have gotten caught up in the wonderful results, and have forgotten what got me here in the first place.

Because of that, I have been a tiny bit– really, just a teensy, weensy, bit– Hulk-ish lately.

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“It’s mid-afternoon and I’m SO FLIPPIN’ CRANKY.”

Terribly sorry, Mom/Nick Fury…

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“Seriously. Do your breathing.”

So here I am, Internet, with a declaration of re-dedication to my breathing practice. I could use more Bruce Banner flashes of genius in my life, and I just can’t have them if the Other Guy is hanging out more often than not.

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#UltimateGoal

I have some really great guided mediation CD’s that I am dusting off. My favorite is one where you imagine yourself walking on a beach, calm and peaceful, timing your breathing to the gentle rolling of the waves…See, I’m more relaxed just thinking of it!

Guided mediation can be really beneficial, because our brains have a weird habit of believing everything we tell them. For instance, if you imagine that, oh, I don’t know, if you were to end up in an enclosed space, you might get stuck, and all the air would drain out of the room, and it would be awful and you wouldn’t be able to breathe, and, and…well, you might end up a pinch claustrophobic. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, if you imagine that, even if you do end up in an enclosed space, you’d have plenty of air and it would be pleasant, cozy even, and not at all awful, then you might end up working through your claustrophobia issues (#TrueStory). Your brain just needs to know which situation to believe.

So, guided mediation CD, check.

My personal meditation space is ready, check.

asian-deck

I wish…

Now all that’s left to do is breathe…

Sigh.

Our brains are powerful things, Chronics. It’s important that we remember to use them 🙂

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Agent Coulson’s Fieldtrip

Happy Monday, Chronics! Like I mentioned on Friday, I had to go in for a tune-up at the cardiologist. It was a never-ending appointment, as many are, and in order to make it more fun, I decided to bring along some friends. Here, for your reading pleasure, is the dramatic retelling of my Friday, starring Agent Coulson and Nick Fury, with special guest, Iron Man. If you have not read my previous post, Avengers, Assemble! you may wish to do so, as this post will make little to no sense to you without context. Unless, of course, nonsensical is your thing. Then by all means, continue. Previous posts can be navigated to over there in the left hand column. Enjoy! –Nic

Mission: Go to Cardiologist appointment at Hospital Center. Find out why Agent Coulson is blacking out more frequently and generally feels pretty gross.

Agent Coulson doesn’t like going to doctor’s appointments. You never know if you will be there for 5 minutes (wait for 3 minutes, see the doctor for 2 minutes) or for 5 hours (wait for 4 hours and 58 minutes, see the doctor for 2 minutes). Because of this, he has to pack for the worst-case scenario- that he will be there all day. It is hard to pack light for a worst-case scenario.

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Hydration is key.

Agent Coulson is not allowed to drive, as his run-in with Loki (a.k.a POTS) has left him altered. Good thing Nick Fury, fearless director of S.H.I.E.L.D, was able to rearrange his work schedule to help Coulson out. The fact that he only has one good eye does not hinder Nick Fury’s driving capabilities. He is Nick Fury, after all.

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Once at the Hospital Center where the cardiologist is located, Agent Coulson must gear up for the waiting part of this endeavor…

But first, he and Nick Fury argue over who gets to press the elevator button. (Coulson won, it is his appointment they’re going to after all!)

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Waiting for the elevator at the busy Hospital Center can take nearly as long as waiting for the cardiologist.

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And then there’s that horrible elevator music.

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Dum, de, dum, dum, dum…

Nick Fury prides himself on his amazing sense of direction. One visit is all this mastermind needs to memorize the floor plan. Unfortunately, due to a battle-injury, Nick Fury doesn’t walk quite as fast as Agent Coulson, so he is forced to endure Coulson speeding ahead, only to turn around every 5 seconds to say “Is it this way?” “It’s a right here, yes? No, left, that’s right. Wait, right?”

IMG_0687 Eventually, they get to where they are going.

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I knew we’d get there eventually.

Agent Coulson and his companion find a seat. It’s comfy, with plenty of room to spread out.

IMG_0657After ½ hour of staring at the ceiling, Agent Coulson figures he might as well see what Mila Kunis has to say about all the hype surrounding her recent engagement and pregnancy with Ashton Kutcher. Engrossed, he is sure that a significant amount of time has passed, however, when he looks up, it is only 5 minutes later.

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#Bored

Finally, finally, Jarvis, computer assistant to Iron Man, calls Coulson for his turn. Nick Fury dutifully accompanies him. This is mainly because Agent Coulson has a tendency to forget things (not just directions), and Nick Fury is there to make sure Jarvis gets all the facts. He is very helpful that way.

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Got that, Jarvis?

Once Jarvis has recorded what’s been going on since Coulson’s last appointment, Nick Fury can relax. He so rarely has 5 minutes to himself, and he settles in happily, with the latest edition of his favorite magazine.

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#ZenFury

Meanwhile, Agent Coulson has to lie down, in preparation for his orthostatic testing.

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No, this exam table isn’t intimidating, at all.

Jarvis will have Coulson lie down flat for a few minutes, take his blood pressure and heart rate, then have him sit up for a few minutes, take his blood pressure and heart rate, and then have him stand for a few minutes and take his blood pressure and heart rate. Agent Coulson requested no photographs at this time, as orthostatic testing makes him pale and sweaty.

More waiting, and then finally, the cardiologist- I mean, IronMan, makes his entrance. The Black Sabbath soundtrack that always seems to follow Iron Man’s every move gently rouses Agent Coulson from the nap he has been taking on the exam table.

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Huh? The doctor’s here? What? Yes, I’m up…

Iron Man says, first thing’s first, let’s get an EKG. Coulson dutifully allows himself to be hooked up to various electrodes. This will test the electricity of his heart- something he doesn’t really get, but that Iron Man says looks good, so Coulson takes that at face value.

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Careful taking the electrode stickers off, Coulson, they’ll peel your paint!

Next it’s time for Iron Man to take a listen to Coulson’s heart. This takes some adjusting.

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Finally, Iron Man makes his recommendations, gesturing helpfully to a poster of heart function so that Agent Coulson can attempt to follow.

IMG_0683 Nick Fury, ever helpful, takes notes in—What else?—Agent Coulson’s Avengers notebook where he keeps all his medical info.

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Take a beta blocker at bedtime, got it!

Tests are ordered, medication is called in to Black Widow at the Pharmacy, and just like that the appointment is over. Agent Coulson thanks Iron Man for his time.

IMG_0663The day is far from over, however, as Iron Man has given Agent Coulson a form to get bloodwork done, downstairs in the lab. Coulson would rather wait till Monday, as he is very fatigued from the effort of it all, but Nick Fury convinces him that they might as well get it done while they are here. More elevators, more waiting.

Agent Coulson wants to document this continued portion of his mission.

But the lab looks like this:

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But cleaner, of course

And the phlebotomist looks like this:

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NOT AN EXAGGERATION…ok, maybe a little…

So he doesn’t dare.

By the time all that is done, night has fallen. Nick Fury and Agent Coulson trudge back to the car. They got some good information out of Iron Man today, and things are looking up for Agent Coulson. He has to wear a continuous heart monitor for the next two weeks that tracks his every heartbeat, and they’ll stop by the pharmacy to see Black Widow about his new meds on their way home. A quick dinner, maybe read a few chapters of his favorite book and it’s in to bed for Agent Coulson.

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#BedtimeStories

He is exhausted!

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Agent Coulson prefers stuffed elephants to Teddy bears…doesn’t everyone?

Mission Complete =)

Be Your Own Hero!

Warning: This post contains spoilers and lots and lots of references to Harry Potter, the Divergent and Hunger Games series, and Marvel Comics. If you are completely in the dark about any of these topics, RUN, do not walk, to your local library and catch up on your Pop Culture Heroes pronto, mmmkay? –Nic

Harry Potter is a Gryffindor.

Tris is Dauntless (technically, she’s Divergent, but she chooses Dauntless, so let’s go with that for right now…).

Katniss is rough and tough, no nonsense.

Captain America goes from being a scrawny nobody to a pumped up superhero.

Ditto the Hulk.

And Spider Man.

Really any Marvel hero, for that matter.

What do they all have in common?

Courage. Bravery. Strength. Fearlessness.

All top qualities of heroes.

But what about those Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs? Or the Amity and the Abnegation? Or Peeta? Or Charles Xavier? Why are they sideline characters in the stories we read? Why can’t they be just as extraordinary?

I am all for the Gryffindor model of a Hero: “You might belong in Gryffindor/Where dwell the brave at heart/Their daring, nerve, and chivalry/Set Gryffindors apart,” (J.K. Rowling, The Sorcerer’s Stone, 1999) That’s traditionally what we see, whether we are sitting through the latest summer blockbuster or reading ancient Greek myths for our Classics 101 course. A hero is supposed to have big muscles, a big sword, and an even bigger personality, right?

Superhero paint

This is what comes up when you Google “hero”

Um, not always.

My friends, as a Self-Sorted Ravenclaw, I feel this is a limited approach. “…In wise old Ravenclaw/If you’ve a ready mind/Where those of wit and learning/Will always find their kind,” (J.K. Rowling, The Sorcerer’s Stone, 1999). If Harry had been a Ravenclaw, he would have read every book on the history of magic, have a passing familiarity of horcruxes, figured out WAY QUICKER that Voldemort was coming for him, drawn up a map of recent Voldemort sightings, used that map and his knowledge of history to anticipate his next move, found all the horcruxes really quickly (those riddles weren’t that hard to figure out), and destroyed Voldemort while he was still a weird floating mist of spirit inhabiting other people’s bodies. Harry would still be a hero, but it would probably take just one book, and that’s not really the stuff of literary world domination and theme parks, now is it?

There is no right way to be a hero. People have different skills and different strengths, which lead them to handling things differently. Not everyone is meant to be a Gryffindor, but that’s ok. In fact, that’s a really good thing.

There is nowhere this is more clear than in the life of a Chronic. We can’t all be big and strong. We have to learn to gather our strength from other sources besides our bodies, as our bodies more often than not are our own worst enemies.

Like Tris in Divergent, I wanted to be Dauntless, too. Who wouldn’t? It seems really awesome to be a thrill seeker who jumps from trains and knows martial arts and can handle weapons, with multiple tattoos and a penchant for wearing black clothing in order to appear mysterious.

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This is what Pinterest thinks when you say “Dauntless”

I didn’t just want to be Dauntless, I planned on being Dauntless. Dauntless is fearlessness, it’s being kick-ass while remaining totally cool. I had Dauntless plans for my life. But Chronic Illness came a-knocking, and it knocked me down quicker than a roundhouse kick to the gut from Four. Being POTSy, fainting, not recovering well from injury, widespread pain and general fatigue are just not the characteristics of a Dauntless.

However, they could totally mesh well with being an Amity (who value working together peacefully), an Abnegation (who value selflessness), or dare-I-say-it, an Erudite (who value learning and knowledge). And you know what? Getting along with difficult people, loving others more than you love yourself, and nurturing love of learning (use it for good, though, people!) are all heroic. You don’t have to shoot a gun or throw a punch to make a difference.

In addition, while I am a fan of the Hunger Games, I have always been disappointed in the description and treatment of Peeta as a character. I LOVED that that kid bakes stuff and decorates cakes, and that he could do camouflage better than anyone because of it. I really felt like he was always being underestimated or undervalued. He had so much untapped potential! While everyone focused on Katniss and her ability to hunt and otherwise be a “strong female” archetype, I continually waited for her to have a less obvious talent the way Peeta did. Even little Rue knew which plants were the antidote to the Tracker Jacker stings in Book 1- she didn’t need six pack abs to be heroic in that situation.

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He really could have just done this at the beginning of the Games, and won the whole thing himself. #Hindsight #20-20

This brings me to Charles Xavier, Professor X of the X-Men. Although he is wheelchair bound, Professor X has one of the best (and most powerful) mutations: he can read your mind, control your mind, move things with his mind, etc. He doesn’t have to be able to walk in order to use his powers to help the common good. But you know what? There is rarely a time (in the comic books at least) where Professor X is out there fighting alongside the other X-Men. They routinely leave this guy at home! Can you believe that? Sure, he can communicate with anyone from anywhere, but really. Wolverine is the one who gets all the glory. Cyclops gets to be in charge of everyone “out in the field” even though his leadership skills tend to vary along with his moods (he is one moody dude).

Why is it so hard for us to see heroism in qualities that aren’t directly related to brawn? Why aren’t we celebrating a greater diversity of characteristics in our hero stories?

This is, of course, a much bigger societal question. But what does it mean for us, on a smaller, every day scale?

If you’re NOT a Chronic: First of all, thanks for being an awesome supporter of Chronics! That’s pretty heroic right there =)

Secondly, the most important thing you can do is celebrate people for the traits they do possess, and stop focusing on what they can’t do. It may take some extra effort, as not everyone’s talents are obvious, but they are there, and they deserve to be noticed.

(Chronics should take note to do this too! We are not immune to focusing on people’s perceived faults, just because we ourselves are often marginalized. Everyone, Chronic or not, has value. Everyone, Chronic or not, has some way they can contribute to the world)

If you are a Chronic: Instead of lamenting how you would be the first cannon blast in the Hunger Games due to your Chronic lack of muscle tone, is there a way you could figure out how to survive with your cunning and smarts? Those kids from Districts 1 & 2 may have trained their bodies since birth, but didn’t you know the island was a clock WAY before Katniss figured it out in Catching Fire? I bet you could figure out a lot of solutions to a lot of problems, from how to unclog the kitchen sink to how to plan an awesome fundraising bake sale.

Hufflepuffs are just, loyal, and patient- does this make you a hero when you are waiting forEVER in your doctor’s waiting room and instead of losing your cool like a Slytherin might, you take a moment to put yourself in the over-worked receptionist’s shoes and cut her some slack? You will definitely be her hero if you do!

Instead of believing you can’t contribute to your society because your run-in with a radioactive spider left you housebound instead of swinging from the skyscrapers of New York City a la SpiderMan, can you print flyers for the local animal shelter’s fundraiser on your computer or join an online peer support network to help others in similar situations?

You have to believe in your own heroic worth before anyone else can.

Please know that I believe in you! I believe that there is more way than one to be a Hero. Now, go out there and save the world, in your own unique and special way! And when you do, take a minute to post a comment here or on my facebook page @ www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell to let me know how you did!

Ba na na na na na na na BATMAN!

Monday and Tuesday proved to be this blog’s most successful days in terms of readers. iamchronicallywell has now been read in 8 different countries! Hi, Hello, G’day, Olá, Salut, Guten-tag, Tere, to all of you! I’d love to hear from you, so please check out www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell to be in touch!

Apparently Superheroes are a big hit.

You are in luck, as today happens to be…

Batman Day

Happy Birthday, Batman!

75 looks good on you, darling.

DC Comics declared it, and it is so.

I have to tell you up front that I probably know more about the Avengers and the X-Men of Marvel Comics than I do about Batman and his friends over at DC. If you promise not to hold this against me, I promise not to hold it against you that you would rather sit through Christopher Nolan’s deep and brooding Dark Knight trilogy than the Technicolor fluff of wonder that is Joss Whedon’s The Avengers.

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Different strokes for different folks, you know?

(Though I really had no idea that the movie posters were so similar in color scheme and inclusion of building-on-fire until I posted them side by side…Maybe we aren’t so different after all, Nolan fans?)

ANYWAY.

Focus…BATMAN.

Bruce Wayne. Orphaned as a young boy when his parents are murdered, Bruce declares that he will dedicate his life to avenging (see, everybody likes Avengers) their deaths by fighting criminals as the masked crusader, Batman. Joined by his sidekick, Robin, he takes on such love-to-hate-them villains as The Joker, Two-Face, The Penguin, and my personal favorite, Catwoman. At some point, Batgirl gets involved, though I’m not really sure when. (Please feel free to flood my Facebook page www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell with your Batgirl knowledge, I’d love to know.)

What does this all have to do with Chronic Illness?

On the surface, Bruce Wayne looks like he’s got it made. A millionaire (billionaire? Has he been adjusted for inflation yet?) playboy, he’s charming and suave. He has fancy parties and lots of lady friends. But when no one else is looking, he dons the Batsuit and gets to work, fighting off things that all those party-attendees only know from nightmares. For Batman, the danger and the intensity of the fight are real.

Sound familiar, Chronics?

On our outsides, a lot of us seem pretty put together. Usually you cannot identify a Chronic on the street by looks (very good for Secret Identity purposes). We are charming and suave. We may throw parties and carry on like we haven’t a care in the world during the day, but when night falls, we are fighting an epic battle. Try as we might to keep our two worlds separate, at some point, the edges blur, and they bleed into one another.

Note from Nic: Please ignore the dramatic overtones of this post. It is impossible to write about Batman without a flair of drama befitting…well, a pulp-fiction comic.

This happens to Batman a lot. (SPOILERS AHEAD, tread carefully…)

For instance, according to the Christopher Nolan trilogy, Bruce Wayne has a childhood friend named Rachel Dawes. Despite his best efforts to keep his Batman life and his Bruce Wayne life separate, he finds that he cannot. Rachel gets tangled up in the chaos. Batman tries to make the right decision when faced with a threat from the Joker, but it doesn’t matter. There is no right choice. The Joker gets the upper hand and in the end, Rachel falls victim to his scheme. No matter what Bruce does, there will always be a Joker (or a Two-Face or a Catwoman) to necessitate a need for Batman. Guilt ensues.

This is how that plays out in a Chronic life (thankfully, only metaphorical, not physical, explosions are involved):

Nic tries to keep her Nic life and her Chronic life separate, but she finds that she cannot. At the most inopportune times, a symptom (aka, the villain) pops up, so she leaves what she is doing to go fight it. Keeping up a façade of “Everything’s Fine” to mask the fact that she is a Chronic-Illness Fighting Vigilante proves to be exhausting, and she finds she cannot keep it up. In trying so hard to make the right decision (keep up appearances vs. share her secret), she finds even the “right” one doesn’t matter. While she was focused on the threats that kept bombarding her, friendships, dreams, and other facets of her Nic life died tragically while she was on Chronic-watch. No matter what Nic does, there will always be a Symptom (or two, or twenty) to necessitate a need for a Chronic-Illness Fighting Vigilante. Guilt ensues.

For Bruce Wayne, the only way to end this push-pull between his Bruce life and his Batman life is to fake his own death and leave the crime-fighting to Detective John Blake (Robin, anyone?).

Luckily, I don’t need to be that extreme. What I realize, that maybe Batman doesn’t, is that I don’t have to try so hard all the time. It doesn’t have to be all up to me when that Bat Signal goes up in the sky. There are police officers, detectives, and special agents (a.k.a. medications!) that I can call on to help me fight the villains. I’ve already Assembled my Avengers (see Avengers, Assemble!, July 21), though in the DC universe, that’s called The Justice League. When I take a step back from the war I’m constantly fighting, I can see all of the opportunities I have been missing when I had my masked-crusader blinders on. If I can allow myself to NOT be the #1 eradicator of all threats great or small in Gotham City for <justasecond> I can start to live a life where villains are more on the periphery, while real life is front and center.

This is not to say that either Batman or I are giving up. No way, we heroes don’t quit. But we can reprioritize a little. Everyone needs to shift their focus sometime. We will always remember what we’ve lost to the Villains (heck, it shaped us, didn’t it?) but we recognize when it’s time to ask for help so that we can move on and move forward.

Ok, that’s enough of that stretch of a Superhero metaphor. I do my best Chronics, I really do.

In honor of Batman Day, here are some of my favorite things about Batman:

~The Batmobile. I’m not sure this needs further explanation. If someone said you could have the most exclusive, fancy car in the universe or you could have the Batmobile, I’m pretty sure we’d all choose the Batmobile. Technically, I think it is the most exclusive, fancy car in the universe.

~Alfred. He’s always there when you need him and he’ll never let on to where you go after hours. Essential Superhero personnel right here.

~Utility Belt. I could really use one of these. I have already gone into detail about all my Chronic stuff (I get by with a little help from… July 11). Wouldn’t it be nice if my most essential items could be right there on my belt for ease of use? I am majorly jealous, Batman.

~The Bat Signal. No matter how advanced our methods of communication, I don’t think anyone is ever going to pick up their iPhone and dial 1-800-Batman. Nope, why use such a slow medium when you can just project this guy’s logo into the night sky and he’ll come running? That is true customer service.

~Will Arnett as Batman in The Lego Movie: hysterically captures the aloof, obsessive, broody nature of the Caped Crusader in one tiny little yellow piece of plastic. Well played, Arnett, well played.