Last weekend I was really struggling. I didn’t feel as though I had the energy for anything and yet my thoughts were tormenting me:
‘You’re not making progress’
‘You’re not doing enough’
‘You should be doing all your self-care’
‘What’s going to happen if you don’t make progress today?’
‘You shouldn’t just be lying here’
‘If you don’t have a shower you can’t go outside where you’ll be seen (and smelt!), you’ll not do anything that lifts your spirits and you’ll carry on feeling miserable and unmotivated!’
I shared how I was dealing with all this in a Facebook live on Sunday afternoon but in case you prefer to read things than to watch, or you’d just like a written summary here are the two main strategies I used to get through:
My main strategy for dealing with the energy constraints of this illness is to do only what I feel like doing at any particular time. However, that was particularly hard that day with all those voices in my head that were pushing me on. But I was also able to find a kind voice that said: ‘You’ve got to just trust that if you go with the flow; allow yourself to feel how you feel in this moment; if you let things be the way they are, things will change and you’ll get better and get through this.’
Trust isn’t automatic, it has to be a choice. I chose to be trusting because I recognised that not doing so was doing me more harm. I knew that it was the kindest thing I could do for myself in that moment. I want to reassure you that it’s nothing to worry about if trust doesn’t come naturally, it really is enough to just make a conscious decision to try it out.
I chose to trust because I knew that my body needed the space to be at peace, and I knew that I needed to give myself permission just to be.
I also needed to acknowledge that the nasty strict voices that were pushing me, were in their own way trying to help me succeed. I needed to be kind to myself about them and not just fight them head on. They came from old behaviour patterns that helped me be successful pre-illness but just don’t help now. Compassion for that, made it easier to let them go and trust.
Recognising and paying attention to all the little ways I was achieving:
When the nasty voices in your head are telling you, you’re not achieving things it helps to be able to reassure yourself that you are. Those things don’t have to be big things, in fact it’s really important to look out for and value even tiny things and realise what a great achievement they are when you have so little energy and motivation.
I chose to recognise what an achievement it was to be able to give myself compassion when those nasty voices were so strong. Even though the compassion came and went, it was a great achievement to be able to compassionately recognise how low I felt, and give myself permission to just be as I was and to trust.
I chose to recognise the achievement in taking good care of myself with some soothing and calming essential oils.
I chose to celebrate that when I did give myself permission not to do the washing up, not to cook for myself, not to have a shower. Taking the weight of meant that my energy picked up and I did find the moment when doing those things felt OK, when I did have a little bit of energy and I chose to use it without pushing or punishing myself.
I also chose to recognise the huge achievements of showering, cooking and washing up on a really bad day!
What helps you to trust on a bad day? What achievements do you praise yourself for when times are tough?
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