1. Avoid negative self-talk or self pity. Do not compare your sick self to your healthy self. It will lead you into depression and despair. Some forms of negative self-talk are the following:
All or nothing: seeing things in extremes, e.g. always do your best, no one likes me.
Labeling: giving yourself labels that have an all-or-nothing quality, e.g. “I’m a loser”.
Filtering: paying close attention to some points and not others, e.g. “All I think about is my pain”.
Rigid expectations: have lots of rules, e.g. “I should always give 100%”.
Self focus: blaming oneself, e.g. “I’m being punished for being ill”.
Psychic reasoning: assuming one always knows how things will turn out, e.g. “I’ll always be ill and in pain”.
Emotional reasoning: relying on feelings to interpret reality, e.g. “I feel so useless - I am useless”.
Helplessness: feeling feelings and self esteem are controlled by outside factors, e.g. “I can’t help feeling scared”.
Accept the self you are now and work on making new positive changes in small ways. Use positive dialogue with yourself. Some forms of positive self-talk are the following:
Middle-ground thinking: see things in balance, some good/some bad, e.g. I did well to walk to the mailbox today.
Describing: objective observations that notices details, e.g. I feel fat but my clothes size proves i’m not fat.
Openness: try to see the Big Picture, e.g. There are many other view points than our own perspective, try to look at the big picture, if you only see life through your own perspective and it is distorted then you can’t challenge it or change it until you see it from other points of view.
Flexible expectations: things do not always go your way, the person you care about is spending time with another set of friends, you want them to be with you, but you can arrange a time when they can be with you even if it isn’t right now when you wanted.
Human-focus: you are not responsible for everything, e.g. I am not at fault because my parents are arguing, that is their responsibility.
Experimental attitude: try things to see if they work, e.g. I’ll tell someone about my feelings instead of avoiding my feelings.
Reality-reasoning: relying on evidence, not feelings, e.g. I am useless I never get anything done!. Try to re-phrase it to I tried but made a little progress today.
Empowerment: taking control of feelings and self-esteem, e.g. I will be less anxious if I remember I did this before and nothing terrible happened.
2. Maintain friendships. Do not let the illness isolate you completely. Long-term illness does not give you the right to be mean to others. Don’t let your pain and irritability separate you from family and friends.
3. Attempt to problem solve those things you can control. Do it in short periods of time. Set goals that are flexible and reasonable. Goals should be positive, do-able, can be measured, clear and defined in terms that can be achieved, and important to you.
4. Fresh air is a great tonic. Sit in a chair. Absorb the sun’s rays, feel the breeze, listen to the sounds of nature.
5.Therepy can help you deal with grief issues, depression, anger, self destructive feelings, etc.
6. Be in control. Stop when you feel tired. Do not push yourself beyond that point. When you do that, the illness is in control, not you.
7. Do not allow illness to become your sole identity. For example, perhaps you are an ill person who is interested in art, reading, etc. You are good at doing these things.
8. Do not allow others to upset you when they ask questions. For example, a person may ask “Are you sure it’s not in your head?”. You do not have to defend yourself. Answer with a short answer. If the person wants more information they’ll ask. Being defensive can mean you feel responsible for your illness or are afraid that the person suggesting it is depression or in your head is correct. Sort it out for yourself first. Then you’ll be able to answer questions.
9. Spend your energy wisely. Realize that you have limits. Be energy efficient. For example, sit whilst talking on the phone. Remember the 50% rule. If you feel like walking 5 miles, walk 2.5 miles. When you return you may be relieved that you made it back or you may have energy enough to do something else, like wash those dirty dishes.
10. Resting for 10 minutes gives you 20 minutes of energy. By forcing yourself to do more than your body can do makes the illness worse.
11. Join a support group, or use a support blog like this. Others know what you are going through. You are not alone. You can gain insight into your illness, its affects on you as well as share insights that may benefit others.
12. Allow yourself grieving time. There are loses you need to come to terms with and it takes time.
13. Set priorities. Make a list of what MUST be done, what you would like to do, and what doesn’t matter.
Be kinder to yourself, by changing our self talk we help ourselves to change our thoughts and when we change our thoughts it helps to change behaviour.
I hope this helps. Always here to talk, gentle hugs Tabi xxx