Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Don’t go feeling too sorry for me. I already know how to adapt and adjust to a new diagnosis. Not only do I have the tools: I’ve built myself a pretty fancy shed to house all of those tools. In that shed, I keep my care team, my loved ones, my energy reserves, my strength, my confidence, some tissues, and some candy (now it has to be gluten free).If any of you are getting a literal picture of all of those things actually crammed into an actual shed, my metaphorical writing just may not be for you. On the other hand those who are having the visual for the sake of amusement, don’t let me stop you.
Of course I have a feeling that these chronic conditions might be related. Anyone with multiple chronic conditions may have felt that way at some point. That may also lead to a lot of self blame, shame, hatred, heartbreak, frustration, judgment, and every other terrible bleh thing to put on one’s self. I have been hard on myself about what I eat, my level of activity, how much I sleep, how hard I work, what others think of me, and worst of all, what I think of me. You can imagine all of the ugly crying that happens when I let those thoughts take over. That cancels some of the despair about how others are judging me. When I go through all of this, there is no room at all in my mind to consider my judgements of others. I am just focused on MYSELF. Sound familiar?
This is where the hard work comes in with my mental fitness. In all of the chaos, I would really like some control. To be able to find that control, there is a bit of sorting out that must happen. What do I want to control? What am I able to control? Who do I want to control? How do I want to have control? When do I really want to have control? You get the picture. Most of us first started learning the scientific method at an early age when we were taught the investagaive questions: Who, What, When, Where,Why, and How.
So, here’s what I know. I can definitely control that shitstorm of a runaway train of thought. It is not as easy as putting on the brakes. It involves all of those handy tools, patience, multiple attempts, and being proactive. It is nearly impossible to figure out how to use a tool in a moment of panic if you have never even picked it up to learn how it works. With gratitude to the many obstacles and setbacks in my life, I have at least picked up some of those tools to explore what the heck they do.
When I listened really hard to figure out what my body was screaming for me to understand that it needed, I had to stop resisting. I had to acknowledge that my mind, body, and spirit are all connected. I had to let them work together instead of pulling them apart.
It has been so hard to slow down and offer myself what I really need. I started by trying to enjoy months of intensive therapy. Because I commited to that part of my healing, I was gifted with exceptional experiences. This therapy was different than how I had been trained in my counseling program. It gently guided me through new experiences to connect my body to my mind and soul and to invite them all to be part of the process. Now I have less dissociation and more connectedness.
I have done other things to nuture myself like acupuncture, changes in how I move my body, massage, and taking quiet time alone. I am also mostly able to recognize how my body feels when I am stressed, impatient, angry, and hurt. I have tools like breathing and visualization to TRY to put to use in those moments.
BUT IT IS STILL HARD!! I think it will be until the day I die. I don’t even want to go into the complexity of trying to control others when I know we all struggle to some degree with having to build our internal locus of control. In building my business, I have spent hours crying, being pissed, and fuming when I can’t figure out why the piece of shit computer that I thought I reasearched is…a piece of shit. I can’t figure out why I have spent countless hours (perhaps days) online or on the phone with “customer service” just to figure out how to add something as simple as a “follow” button to the blog on the service I tried to build my blog on 2 attempts ago.All weekend, I have been consumed by these technical problems just so I can post my blog for my regular Sunday night blog. I have missed the concert I was going to attend last night. I did not go for a walk with my friend. I have been an absolute nightmare to my roommate who is graciously taking his own time to help me solve my computer problem.
WHERE IS THAT DAMN SHED FULL OF TOOLS NOW?? I hear my body. My shoulders are tense, my head is aching, my words are sharp, and I just feel depleted. I can now longer wait until the …”as soon as I fix this” excuse to get in my way. I must walk away, listen to myself, and go to the movies. I must just post this blog from my phone and not obsess about how to get you to see this by trying to create visibility on social media. I must just walk away, take care of myself, and…