What do you say to yourself when you need a pep talk?
This isn’t hard to answer, not really. I am a big advocate of positive thinking, I doesn’t treat the disease itself and it definelty doesn’t cure it but it can make a big difference to your feelings and emotions surrounding it. At many times in my history with my chronic collection it would have been so easy to roll over in bed and accept “this is my life now” and give up trying, give up hoping, give up gaining ground. At my worst when I was bed bound for 18 month it would have been easier to do that, to think that that was my lot and just stay that way.
I am not saying that positive thinking made me able to do things, totally not the case. Bed bound people are not simply a few positive thoughts away from a wheelchair, no, just no. But for me, about 10 months to a year into my stint in bed I decided that if there was anything I could do to make sure that I didn’t stay like this for ever then I was going to do it, and I was lucky because eventually (and yes it was about 8 months before I showed any progress) I began to move forward in the most tiny, most insignificant steps. May have been massively off putting or disappointing for someone else but more me, I chose to focus on them, cling to them, make them count. It was then that I found, positive thinking helped me. Not my physical conditions, thinking positively about having a leg when you are missing one isn’t going to make it grow back is it? But the mental side of my Illnesses are definitely boosted onto the good side by positive thinking.
I’ve also learnt, over time, that it’s okay to have bad days, down days. It’s okay to cry, to scream, to sit in the dark and watch Netflix all day. That although I may have it much better than some people I also have it much worse than many more. So if I get tired of holding it together and I just need a break from “I’m okay” land it’s okay to take a day or two to simply being sad and acknowledging that my life isn’t what I thought it was going to be. To despise my health and my limitations. To grieve for the wife I wanted to be, the mother I wanted to be, the person I used to be. But that’s the point it is ONLY a day or two, then (thankfully, as I’m lucky) I can pull my shit together and go back into “I’m alright, I’m fine” mode, because I had a break.
So yes, what do I say to myself when I need a pep talk? Well after I’ve judged where I am on the “coping” scale I decide if it’s time to let it go, if it is, I do, the positive pep talk stuff can wait a couple of days until I can stomach it. If I’m still well within range I look back to how I’ve been and how much better I am now than I used to be. I look at other people that are sicker than me but that manage so much better. I become thankful for how relatively good my life expectancy is in comparison with others. And, if all else falls, I simply repeat:
“This too shall pass”