Understanding Yourself

It has recently been brought to my attention that I am too hard on myself. I’m forever advocating to be kind to yourself and to let yourself work through things but I seem to have put myself on higher expectations than anyone else.

When considering this, I did wonder if it was a bad thing. It seemed to me to stem from the desire to push myself, to work towards the life that I wanted. But I’ve been pushing myself to the standards of everyone else around me and that is where it doesn’t work.

I have always wanted to be like everyone else and I have always been slightly ashamed of the various maladies I suffer from. I never wanted to admit that they stop me from living a ‘normal’ life. Actually that should be phrased as ‘medically normal.’ I wanted to live my life without planning my outfit around my knee supports or always making sure I had water for my medications or even planning the day around how long I thought I could stand before some sort of ache and pain was triggered. Which is an understandable desire but not practical when it comes to the actual planning.

At the moment, my pain has increased to being around 24/7. It’s becoming as natural as breathing. I don’t want to go into too much detail but being in pain is NOT FUN. I am on a waiting list to potentially have it sorted but the key word there is waiting. And I am waiting with the help of at least 4 different types of medication a day. They also have their own side-effects, such as drowsiness. Some days I close my eyes and I wake up three hours later, accompanied by the grogginess of an unexpected nap and the overwhelming feeling that I’m failing at my life. I could have written in those three hours, I could have tidied, done laundry. I could have read a book, watched a movie. Anything other than sleep, wake up and then take some more drugs to just go back to sleep again. I am viewing it as a serious waste of my time which I could prevent.

When asked, logically, how could I prevent the side-effects of some strong painkillers that I have to take because my body has a genuine problem, I draw a blank. (Before anyone says coffee, I have tried consuming more caffeine than is safe to do so. It only makes it worse). The only answer I can come up with is, I shouldn’t be taking them in the first place, but that’s not my fault. It is my choice to take them but only because I would have even less control over my life than I do now. Logically, I would say sleep is better than pain.

Another side-effect has been some weight gain, caused by the non-exercise that has become the norm. Don’t get me wrong, I was never a gym buff and I was never a Toned Tina but I was slimmer. I had noticed some bad eating habits and was working on that, even doing some exercise via an app in the safety of my room. But when the mere act of getting out of bed is a trigger for the pain, a workout is about as appealing as…well getting out of bed. But I’ve been looking in the mirror and feeling like I’m not getting it right. I’m punishing myself for the side-effects of being ill and when I remember I’m too ill to fix it, I’m feeling even worse. It’s a vicious circle that’s pushing me down into a pit of despair and there doesn’t seem to be a way out of it.

Yet, if one of my friends came to me, saying the same things, I would say ‘don’t worry! You look fine and yes you’re uncomfortable right now but your body is going through a lot. The pain shouldn’t be there forever and once you’re better then you can look towards what you can do. But for now you need to take care of yourself and remember that you are dealing with a lot. Don’t punish yourself for it.’

So that’s what I’m telling myself and everyone around me who’s experiencing similar things. Do not punish yourself for a situation out of your control. Do not feel bad. It isn’t forever. The most important thing to do is to be kind and love yourself. No matter what.

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