Wednesday, January 21, 2015

spoonie diaries #4: the fear of 'not doing enough'

Oh man, is this one I deal with regularly. This sort of thought leads to a mountain of guilt, which is really difficult to handle and can lead to making stress worse, making someone feeling more anxious, and also lead to depression and negative thoughts about yourself.

Here are some classic thoughts that I have had come up with this one:

~ "I should be better by now." - okay, this one can also pop up as me projecting or assuming that that it was what other people are thinking about me when they say certain things. And it is quite damaging, because it is something that is just not helpful. In some ways, I may never get 'better' (and what does 'better' even mean? it's different things to different people. for some it's pain-free, for others it's no symptoms whatsoever, for others it's just being able to function at a normal pace), and so putting pressure on myself to get to this mystical - sometimes unattainable - place is just frustrating. It's like pushing against a wall trying to convince yourself that one day you will be able to push it over.

~ "I should be doing more to find a cure." - oh man, this is just as frustrating as the previous one. I get advice from all over the place on stuff I should be trying out (note: aside from some of the most obscure stuff, I have probably tried it. Maybe twice.), there are times when I have fallen into a bit of a slump and not been able to even think about trying to get better. I eat poorly for a little while, and just focus on doing what I feel like. But I've come to realise that even then, I am still committed to healing myself. It may not seem like much, but I am thinking healing thoughts, I am trying to support my body and my mind by giving myself a break from pushing and pushing.

To be honest, I have actually... not so much 'given up' but ceased looking for a 'cure'. The overwhelming evidence has shown me that maintenance/management is the way to go for me. Improving my diet, getting more exercise that I enjoy, being more involved in things socially. I am working on being what Brene Brown calls 'whole-hearted' (check this link for more info on that lovely thing) and looking after myself, without feeding into the somewhat damaging belief that I will find this perfect cure for everything I deal with, after thirteen/fourteen years of not finding it. [that's not to say that if something starts working really well I won't jump on it.] I just feel like it's best for me at the moment.

You know what? I am more excited about management than I am about trying to see another specialist, try another drug, or, hopefully never again, have another hospital procedure. I like trying to eat healthier, trying new foods (particularly fermented foods like kimchi - yum!), and getting back into some exercise that I used to love (swimming and yoga!). I really think being excited and feeling some semblance of control over the management of my illnesses (of my life) makes me feel so much better, and less likely to get brought down from the fear of 'not doing enough'.

What about you? Have you experienced the thoughts I mentioned above? How do you cope with them?

Love to all who read.

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