Sometimes, I think I shouldn’t find being sick so hard.
I tell myself, to ‘get it together. You aren’t doing this alone. You have a great supportive boyfriend, family and friends (and now all of you online warriors! 👋🏻).’ But then my thoughts begin to spiral… ‘You don’t even have the responsibility of a child to look after yet. How will you look after them when you can barely move right now? It should not be this painful to do what most people do without much thought, like taking a shower, cooking dinner, and even just walking across the room. These are some examples of thoughts running through my head. This is chronic illness. It is a total (excuse my language)…mindfuck. You’re constantly trying to talk yourself out of these negative thoughts… because they are JUST thoughts, not reality. And it is exhausting.
Over the last couple of weeks, my whole body has been hurting on top of my bladder pain, especially my lower back/sacrum + inner knees and I am constantly tired. I have upped my Vitamin D and Magnesium in hopes it could be something as simple as that. But I am concerned I’m developing Fibromyalgia. So in all honesty, my mindset has not been the greatest recently and neither have my thoughts. They have been filled with a lot of:
- I should be able to walk 50 metres without having to take a break
- I should be excelling in my career, not laying on this couch
- I should be able to put dishes away on shelves
- I should be able to pull my weight when it comes to cleaning
After writing those out and learning a lot in a pelvic pain program recently, I notice I’m thinking unrealistically by making such self-defeating statements. I’m putting such unrealistic demands on myself based to my current circumstances. By being so hard on myself and expecting perfection, I am just setting myself up for failure.
‘Should’ statements will only make you feel more hopeless about being chronically ill and knock down your self-esteem. I’m pretty aware of this now but that doesn’t mean I don’t find my way back to this negative thought process, constantly. Especially when brushing my teeth, for some odd reason. So today I put a sticky on my mirror saying, “Stop Should-ing on yourself” as a humorous reminder to let go of those thoughts. ✌🏻
If you notice your thoughts falling into the ‘should’ category, it may be helpful to write your should statements down whenever you find yourself experiencing anxiety. Then, reframe it by writing a more realistic and positive statement. Notice how many should statements you use throughout your day and start replacing them.
Remember that living with chronic illness is really hard work. No one is expected to be perfect, including yourself. Learn to be kind with yourself and celebrate your strengths even when there are limitations involved.