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Monday, February 16, 2009

One can't live on introspection alone

MS has forced me to look at myself, my lifestyle and my choices in a deep way. This process has been both challenging and uncomfortable but it has also been good. I am continually forced to examine why I'm troubled when I am troubled. I see others through new eyes and find that my compassion has increased. On the other hand, I have left little compassion for myself.

All around, I fault myself for every bit of absentmindedness I exhibit, everything I can't do and every commitment I flake out on. Despite being human and having MS to boot, I beat myself up constantly. Lately, my overall frame of mind has been better but my tolerance for my own shortcomings seems to be decreasing. In order to feel good inside, I try to keep busy. I follow a checklist of things I need to do and I feel the best when I can check things off this list. Unfortunately, I am wearing this prop out quickly.

I find myself asking, "What else is there? What and who am I without the things I do?" I went and saw my MS therapist today and she pointed out that I cannot just will myself into control of everything. She said I was taking too much of this process upon myself. She asked me why it was so important to make everyone else think that I am ok. I could only answer that I do not want to be a burden. I also think that when I can convince myself that things are ok that I can maintain the life I have now, that things will remain ok.

My last therapist helped me build a "toolkit." A toolkit for coping is essential but it is also really about maintenance. I think I am ready to move beyond maintenance. The problem is that I don't know where to start. Do I join a group, find a new therapist, continue to introspect? While I recognize my comforting mechanisms, I have not found a way to cut myself free. I still need to feel in control, I still need to check things off a list to feel in control and I am still haunted by the need to feel that this life, my life, has a purpose. I know I can't change in a day or probably that I cannot even do this alone, and yet I long to be able to solve these problems without committing to therapy, finding a group or changing my life style.

Physically I am one of the most flexible people I know but mentally I have created a giant rut. Go figure. There are a million reasons why I should not dwell or feel sorry for myself and yet there it is. I have not forgotten that I have many reasons to be grateful but I am realizing that I have a long way to go in adjusting to both my disease and more importantly, the things in myself that are holding me back from relaxing or feeling lasting happiness. Today I am grateful that I am still spoiled enough to find that these are my chief complaints and that overall it is a good life, we just all have our own stuff to deal with.


pat said...

there's a very BIG difference between "feeling sorry for oneself"and "self-compassion"The human condition and it's management require every emotion for every person-including ourselves.Your honesty continues to astonish me.Peace and acceptance to you warrior woman

Joan said...

I am so lost right now, but I don't know why. I haven't written on my blog about these feelings because my family reads my blog and I don't want them to know that I am depressed. I'm not sure who I am now that I don't work. I seem to have no goals, or no goals that are of any worth, but I can't create any goals because the unpredictability of my fatigue. I know I need some tool kit or first aid box, but don't know how to start. Phew! What a mess we are! Thanks for writing about this and giving me a place to vent.

Blinders Off said...

Reading your post reminded me of myself when I was going through what you are going through now. Not wanting to be a burden, wondering what my purpose was, and the need of being in control were my issues. It does help talking to a therapist, especially when you start feeling down during the process of a new self-awareness of living with MS.

Living with MS is like a roller coaster with the ups and downs it brings us. I promise…you will get through this phase.

1. Most of all try not to turn away the people who loves you, keep the lines of communication open because you are not a burden.

2. Your purpose is what you choose it to be. Listen to your heart!

3. There is nothing wrong in being in control, just remember it is okay to let go when you need to.

Diane J Standiford said...

How big a part does MS play in your self image? Helps me to minimize, look elsewhere. said...

You start with reading- This book is a great place to start. It's by Maxwell Maltz and the title is,
The Magic Power of Self Image Pyschology. It's older, so go to the library and ask for it. Read, Read, Read, its what uplifted me and brought me back from the well of dispair

Weeble Girl said...

Continuing to blog when you feel like it is also a good step in the right direction.




I admire you for being able to express yourself so clearly, even though you may feel clouded. I found that counseling did help to an extent. Acceptance and release are tremendously hard to find.

I've read some of Maxwell Maltz's books, such as Psycho-Cybernetics, and found them to be very similar to self-help books like The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale or The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol. You may find these inspiring, or personally frustrating.

While in school studying to be a professional musician, we read and discussed various "mind" books, used to help harnass our fears and anxiety, while cultivating a mental focus and performance power. The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey and The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green were two of these.

However, I think that you may prefer the following books for introspective food:
Zen in the Art of Archery - Herrigel
A Soprano on Her Head - Ristad
Siddhartha - Herman Hesse

But please, do not feel like to have to follow any of the specific suggestions here. Listen to yourself, trust yourself, and allow yourself to be.

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks again to everyone who commented here. I appreciate all the excellent suggestions. I try to write with great honesty about how I feel at any given moment. This may not serve as an overall reflection on my physical or mental state but it reflects exactly where I was at the moment of writing. I think good writing helps us find pieces of ourselves at times. That's what I try to offer on my blog and I hope that my raw content serves it's purpose for my readers. With tremendous gratitude, Namaste