I don’t know about you, but my chronic illness often takes me on a very crazy roller coaster ride of emotions. Some days I am feeling a bit more energized and optimistic about the future, then I crash a few hours later and my positive mind escapes me. I am upset that I am trapped in this body that fails me and some days I question my existence. Then you feel upset with yourself because you knew your mindset was in the the right place, but you can’t even seem control it anymore. You are upset that you are upset.
If this has happened to you, here are a few ways to help you independently manage the emotional roller coaster of chronic illness.
Allow Yourself To Crash
If your body is crashing, allow it to crash. There is nothing worse then resisting the fall. You know when people get into car accidents and if the person had been drinking vs sober, the inebriated person has less physical damage then the sober person. That is because the sober person prepares their body for the crash by tensing up their body. The inebriated person’s body is relaxed, thus limbering their body up for the crash. Without the tension, this reduces the force, and allows for lower impact, resulting in less injuries.
Although this is an odd analogy, it is an interested one to think of when relating to your chronic illness crash. When you relax and let your body do what it is naturally doing vs. fighting it, you allow your body to recovery itself quicker. This is the idea of surrendering to your body. By fighting your bodies natural response, you are creating cortisol, a stress fight or flight hormone, which makes the crash worse. What your body is doing is trying to protect itself in the only way it currently knows how. Surrender mentally to this process.
This Too Shall Pass
Once you surrender, you allow the physical symptoms to work their way through and pass. They will pass, and you know they will because, this is all part of the cycle. You will not be in this pain forever and it will subside. Along with the physical symptoms, you may have a crash in mindset.
You become the person who gets upset with the process all over again and questions why me. We have all been there. It sucks and I’m sorry you are going through this right now.
Understand that emotions are temporary. When we understand the impermanence of emotions, we can ride the emotional roller coaster with more ease. Some days will be emotionally better than others. Allow these feelings to be present and soon they will pass. What you resist, persists.
Don’t Put Yourself Down For Feeling Down
Remember, you are human! I think one of the hardest things we feel we go through is the defeat we feel by our own emotions. You may have a mindfulness or mindset practice that helps you prepare for emotionally hard times. But then when hard times hit, sometimes our emotions get the best of us and we feel defeated by our own mindset.
This is a very frustrating feeling. We are now getting upset that we are getting upset. Odd cycle isn’t it? – Don’t get upset with yourself for not having it all together all the time. When you beat yourself up, you are hurting yourself twice over.
Think of how you may react to a friend if they were going through the same situation as you are currently. What would you tell them to comfort them? Would you talk to them in the same way you are talking to yourself right now? Of course not. Be kind to yourself, and don’t reprimand yourself for having some emotional tough days.
Managing Your Mindset Takes Practice and Patience
Keep in mind that you will not be Buddha overnight. A lot of us practice some emotional stability but forget that our practice is just that, a practice. After we’ve done some grieving and come to terms with our new life style, many of our days are much more stable emotionally. Our acceptance allows us to find peace in the now.
As we keep practicing that, our mindset gets stronger and stronger, but don’t think it is just like a light switch. When our mind escapes us with those self loathing thoughts, you will be testing your mental strength. Bring your attention back to your practice and acknowledge that your mindset has left you in the dark. The acknowledgement itself is a step in the right direction.
If you are new to a mindset practice, I suggest you read How To Be Sick by Toni Bernhard and the Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. These books use principles to allow us to understand our position and be patient with ourselves.
Allow your body to respond to your illness in the way it knows how. Know that this will pass and the emotions will pass with it as well. If you are feeling upset with your emotional state, give yourself an emotional break. Treat yourself like a friend and don’t beat yourself up for being human. Some days are just tough days and managing our mindset isn’t easy. You are a human, not a robot.
Last but not least, understand that managing your mindset takes practice and patience. Even when you practice daily, you will have emotionally hard days that will seem to kick your ass. Keep applying mindfulness and patience, and don’t forget to give yourself a hug!
Did you find any of these “How to Independently Manage the Emotional Roller Coaster of Chronic Illness” helpful? Share you experience below.
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