Mad Like Alyce

Flares, Fears & Frustrations

I have started and stopped this post multiple times, deleting everything and beginning again from scratch. The truth is, it’s incredibly difficult to talk about fear, and there simply is no way to discuss chronic pain and flare ups without including the topic of fear. It wasn’t really even a topic included in the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic (PRC), and their whole purpose was to help us get off of medication and face the fear of voluntarily eliminating the only shield we had between ourselves and the pain that threatened to tear us apart daily.

Flares

This January marks five years since I went through the rehabilitation program at the Mayo Clinic, and since getting off of pain medication I have certainly had flare ups. My first year living pain medication free was a roller coaster of blinding pain and attempts to manage it with an endless supply of biofreeze and enough ibuprofen to kill a herd of livestock. I thought I had accepted that I would never be pain free, and it was a shock to me the first time I made it through a day at work without taking ibuprofen or even thinking of my pain once (3 years in). I wear my pain warrior badge proudly, and even though I have accepted the ups, downs, and limitations of my diagnosis, I was in no way prepared for the fear that accompanies a flare up.

Fears

Sometimes, it takes a flare up for us to see just how well we have been managing. I’m not talking about the day to day pain, but that deep, searing pain that takes your breath away as it rips you back in time to memories of when your pain was at its worst. Your pain manifests as a physical being, gripping you in a toxic embrace and all you can do is silently scream in your head, “NOT AGAIN NOT AGAIN NOT AGAIN,” until your brain is numb from the agony. Even after five years of flare-ups, it still suffocates me with it’s intensity.

I don’t bring it up to be dramatic, but instead to lessen it’s power by telling you this is normal. We went through hell–some of us are still in some shade of it–and the thought of going back there brings us to our knees. It’s hard talking about it to others, either because we don’t want to be the person who always talks about their pain, or because we are too afraid of our fears being invalidated. Having someone tell us that, “I’m sure it isn’t that bad,” or, “Hey, have you ever been to a chiropractor?” makes our blood boil.

Frustrations

While it is perhaps one of the hardest things to do, I focus on slowing down, which is the exact opposite of what my terrified rabbit brain wants to do. I’m currently in one of my worst flare-ups in five years, which, happened to be brought on by a new injury. Farrell’s Kickboxing, which is something I am so proud of myself for accomplishing with my damaged body, resulted in spraining my shoulder, and led to a full scale flare up of my neck and trapezius muscle pain to the degree of which I haven’t felt since rehab. I called my sister and mom in tears from the pain for the first time in 7 years.

What about the nail?

While my mind was spinning terrified circles about the “what ifs” and possibility that my pain could be coming back to it’s full fury, it was my sister who had the most sane advice. “Go to your doctor, you probably actually hurt yourself.”

Did you ever see that video where the girl goes on and on about problems, completely ignoring the nail in her forehead that causes all of said problems. I kind of felt like that for a minute. Having chronic pain means I am very good at ignoring my pain, or at least distracting myself from it. Sometimes I forget that pain actually has a purpose, which is to tell you something is wrong in your body. Facepalm. An injury. Deal with the injury, then deal with the flare. I’m not going to say the anxiety was immediately resolved, but it was a plan and sometimes, having an actionable plan can bring that internal panicked bedlam down to a dull roar.

More Frustrations

I did go to the doctor, get some X-rays (nothing broken or displaced), and a prescription of muscle relaxers and physical therapy… and was forbidden from kickboxing for an entire month minimum…. right over Christmas. Ugh. I’m trying to do the opposite of what I normally do (ignoring the pain) and actually listen to my body and what it is telling me. I’ve been so run down between the pain, holiday triggers and anxiety, and personal life anxiety that this break is a (mostly) welcome excuse to take it easy. To get back to basics, and start practicing better self care, both physically and mentally. To put on my war paint and face this next battle against chronic pain.

Hello!

Hi! I'm Alyce.
Welcome to my journey towards living a happier and healthier life while living with PTSD and chronic pain... and never letting it keep me from my passion for Halloween, cooking, and way too many DIY projects... all at the same time!

Costume & Makeup Tutorials

Instagram

  • Good things happen when you leave the apartment for the first time in a week! These must've gotten dropped off when I was taking a nap, I opened my front door to find this gorgeous Halloween bouquet on my doormat from @bkbecker! I just can't get over those adorable bats!!! #ihavethebestfriends #halloween
  • Rose Madder has an ethereal beauty and raw feminine power, however, something is off... something not quite human. The shadows under her skin would be perhaps leprosy, perhaps something worse, and her eyes are rabid with madness. “Don't look at her face! That is not for the likes of you.”
She was fascinated by the texture of the woman's back, her bare shoulder, and the lower part of her neck. The skin was finer than watered silk. But farther up on her neck... Rosie didn't know what those grey Shadows lurking just below her hairline could be, and didn't think she wanted to know. Bites were her first wild thought, but they weren't bites. Rosie knew bites. Was it leprosy? Something worse? Something contagious? 
Products used in this look are: 
Woochie cream makeup in Dead Guy Grey, @mehronmakeup aqua color in white and gray, Light green cream makeup from the zombie color set from Woochie, Eyeshadows from the @tartecosmetics artist palette.
Gold aqua color from the Mehron brilliant palette, @bennyemakeup bruise wheel.
Full tutorial on the blog!
  • One of the reasons I love Stephen King novels is because he illustrates just enough of the character for your imagination to kick in and fill in the horrifying details that make it real and terrifying for each individual. Because this has never before been made into a motion picture I was really excited to be able to make my own spin on how Rose Madder would appear for round 3 of the #StrykingFEAR contest. Check out the full tutorial, now up on the blog, link in bio!
  • Here is my entry for round 3 of the #StrykingFEAR contest. Inspired by the recent excitement around the movie IT, I wanted to create a character from another of my favorite Stephen King novels, Rose Madder. The book is set in the late 80s or early nineties but I would imagine that it would be produced in the style of many of his older movies from the 70s and 80s such as The Shining, Carrie, or Salem's Lot.
This novel is unique to me because it includes elements of Greek mythology which is a different angle for Stephen King, and also because it covers the topic of domestic abuse, and with October also being domestic abuse awareness month I felt that it was very timely. In the book, Rose Madder is an “almost goddess” that saves the main character, Rosie, by showing her how to empower herself and escape from her abusive husband. 
One of the reasons I love Stephen King novels is because he illustrates just enough of the character for your imagination to kick in and fill in the horrifying details that make it real and terrifying for each individual. Because this has never before been made into a motion picture I was really excited to be able to make my own spin on how Rose Madder would appear.
Rose Madder has an ethereal beauty and raw feminine power, however, something is off... something not quite human. The shadows under her skin would be perhaps leprosy, perhaps something worse, and her eyes are rabid with madness. “Don't look at her face! That is not for the likes of you.”
  • Super excited to be entering the #StrykingFEAR Contest! It all started when I came across the round one intro video from @miss_stryx back in August. Suddenly I had a deliciously horrifying idea that has led to an awesome collaboration with @jibclimmer and I was more excited about Halloween this year then I have been for any years prior. Thanks @miss_stryx for the inspiration! Since I had to rush everything because of my surgery last week, I'm still working on editing and will actually be posting the rounds in reverse order. Round three coming up soon!
  • It's showtime!!!! It's been an interesting last week recovering  from my recent shoulder surgery, but in between bouts of falling asleep randomly and mindlessly watching television, I've been able to work on some of the video to tutorials I shot prior to the surgery. These are gonna be coming at you here pretty soon! In the meantime, here is my Beetlejuice from last year which you can find a tutorial for on the blog, both make up and costume! Link in bio.
  • I didn't want to say anything, then... or even now. But what someone else decided to do became a part of who I am now. A part of the damage I will always carry. My voice may have been small while I put myself together. Until I learned that the part of me that I am proudest of, the strength in me to overcome, is something you will never take. #metoo
  • Should have known #fridaythe13th would be the PERFECT day to start shooting my next project. You guys... I can't even begin to say how excited I am to share it with you, but for now, a quick peek.
  • Even in death, #pumpkinspice is life! Zombie walks are popping up all around the country, and if you want to wear your costume early as a "zombie" but don't want to actually damage the costume, this basic zombie is perfect! Or for me, it's a casual October Saturday....

@madlikealyce

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