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.

Flares

This January marks five years since I made the decision to get completely off pain medication. 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 (three years med-free). I wear my pain warrior badge proudly, and even though I have accepted the ups, downs, and limitations of my diagnosis, I was still 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, they still suffocate me with their intensity. I don’t bring it up to be dramatic but instead to lessen its 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.

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 sustained at the gym. For the first time in seven years, I called my sister and mom in tears from the pain.

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 its full fury, it was my sister who had the best advice. “Go to your doctor, you probably actually hurt yourself.” Did you ever see that spoof 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.

It’s OK to be afraid.

I did go to the doctor and am yet again back in physical therapy. 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. When we do well managing our pain, it’s easy to forget how far we h]ave come. It’s OK to be afraid of the pain… just know that you are stronger.

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!

Instagram

  • One last shot of Sallywise! This was a great test to see what I need to focus on more when timing my looks, and also to realize that a lot of the detail I like to include might not really matter in the harsh dim light of a haunted house. On to the next look! #sallystitches #nightmarebeforechristmas #clowns #pennywise
  • Breaking the Instagram square because this shirt is goals, and one of my all time favorite Halloween finds. It’s from SheIn, and is literally exactly how I would imagine Sally’s dress would be as a shirt. It’s super comfortable, and it even comes in plus sizes! I’m always looking for ways to bring Halloween esthetic to my work wear, and I’m beyond thrilled. Oh, and did I mention it is only $16?!?!!!
#nightmarebeforechristmas #halloween #sallycosplay #cosplay
  • When you are feeling Nightmare Before Christmas but need to practice clowns.... you get Sallywise! 
I challenged myself to get this done as quickly as possible, and originally had my timer set for 20 minutes... this one took about 45 including time to put on the wig, so all in all, not terrible considering I sometimes take a lot longer. The one thing I wish I would have spent more time on is the foundation, which wasn't as opaque as I would have liked, but overall, I really like this one!
#Nightmarebeforechristmas #sally #IT #pennywise #clowns
  • Pretty sure I will never quite learn how to stay serious... I seriously love this look so much! #colors #colorful #illgrowupsomday
  • The most beautiful thing about poetry is that the collection of words carries more emotion and meanings than the author may have ever intended. They shape these words into skeletons made of language that we flesh out with our emotions. It’s a living thing, always changing. Make sure to check out the poem that inspired this look on my last post! #poetry #artinspiration #myfavoritepoet #livingart
  • Teal hues
And suddenly
Your breath
Becomes violet
Clashing against
Rainbow soundwaves 
And that way crayons 
Leave broken trails
Of color
Behind ~ By @andrewcoonswriting 
#poetry #artinspiration #anxiety #depression #mentalhealth #myfavoritepoet #allthefeels
  • Fun fact: these paints really sting when they get in your eyes. I tried to get it as close to my waterline without actually getting it in my eyes... and I was not successful. Also, not sure I can take myself too seriously in any kind of clown makeup. #clowns #clownmakeup #hauntedhouse #pumpkinmakeup #pumpkins #jackolantern #jackolanternmakeup #mehron
  • I'm going to be doing makeup for a haunted house this year, and when i asked what common requests were, I was informed that clowns are super popular. Until today, I have never yet done a clown... im actually not a huge fan, and I can completely see why clowns are great for terrifying haunt visitors. I've been in more of a pumpkin mood lately, and thought it would be a good way to ease myself into the concept. #clowns #clownmakeup #hauntedhouse #pumpkinmakeup #pumpkins #jackolantern #jackolanternmakeup
  • They said there will be a lot of clowns, but I was feeling pumpkin vibes... and this was the result! I should go to bed, but I’m having too much fun to take this off just yet. 🎃Now for some spooky Netflix and popcorn, and pit bull snuggles on the couch. She’s giving me some side eye right now. #clownmakeup #hauntedhouse #pumpkinmakeup #pumpkins #jackolantern #jackolanternmakeup

@madlikealyce

Costume & Makeup Tutorials

Follow Me