I’ve been grieving myself for many days now, if not weeks. (Let’s get real, it’s been on and of for a couple months). This just seems to be part of the process when tackling chronic illness; fear and grieving of ones self. With these new limitations, some days will just be crappy days even though we try to have a positive mindset.

Some days our health ebs and flows. Maybe you can relate, but there are bad days that make you question your future and remind us of how sick you really are. What follows is grate despair of losing the hopes and dreams we once planned for ourselves. If you are in the thick of it right now, you are in the right place and you are here the receive the right message. This is a reminder: Don’t let the fear take you over. Bad days are mentally draining, and they test our positive will power to remain strong for ourselves. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind on bad days.  

Manage Expectations

Considering I am not working, I created a lot of plans in my mind for all of the things I wanted to do with my free time. I wanted to write on this blog almost daily, take photos around my city, go to a public speaking group, and still see my friends. Once the summer weather hit, I felt motivated to get out the door and I stopped listening to my body. And guess what I did, I ran my body into the ground. Each day I over did it and the accumulating affects had me house bound for over 2 weeks. 

I I thought I could manage it all because I started feeling better, but the reality was that my body couldn’t. Some of you can relate to these feelings.   It can be pretty self defeating when you make plans that fall through due to your illness. This is why managing expectations is very important. Although FOMO is real, its important to take baby steps and not over extend yourself. You will have to set boundaries, and often tell others no, even if you wish to attend something.    Manage your expectations by accepting where you currently are at physically and mentally. Start by setting small goals for yourself that you know you can manage and go from there.

"Today I told my Dad that I had FOMO. He immediately got concerned and thought it was a disease." #chronicillnessproblems #FOMOisReal Click To Tweet

Know What Triggers You Emotionally

I personally get triggered around the days of my doctors appointments and receiving test results. It seems to be a reminder that this illness is my current reality and that it is something I have to accept and deal with in the present. As much as I would like to avoid it and emotionally abolish it, I can’t. If I don’t manage my mind, my fears and doubts can begin to spiral. 

When you know your triggers, you can prepare my mind for those especially hard days. Set yourself up to for success, by planning ahead and setting up a support system. For instance, if appointments trigger you, make sure you plan ahead with family members or friends around those appointments. Have someone be there with you for your appointments, or make sure you schedule time to see a friend that day so that you have emotional support. 

Count Your Blessings

Yes, you still have to look on the bright side, even when all you want to do is wallow in your own misery. There is always something to be grateful for. Maybe it’s the fact that you have a great doctor, family and friends to support you, or even that you have a device and internet connection that helps you connect with others who are going through similar circumstances. Maybe today the pain has decreased, or you were able to get out of bed and just sit on the porch for 5 minutes today. 

It is very easy to ruminate about all the issues we feel we are currently facing. Challenge your own negative thoughts by thinking of something positive. 

If you are struggling to find the light, here are some blessings to be grateful for:

  • I am grateful I have found and am reading this article. It means I am taking the first step to help take care of myself. I am on the right track.
  • I am grateful we live in a world with modern medicine. Although my lifestyle is different than expected, I am still able to make adjustments with the support of modern medicine and treatments.
  • I am grateful for my resilient mind. Some days are harder than others, but I trust in myself to bounce back.

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty

What I mean by digging your well before you’re thirsty is, prepare your mind on the days you feel well so that you can better manage the bad days. We have to continue to do the mental training when we have the capacity to.

Accept that some days will be harder than others. Toni Benhard, the author of How To Be Sick, practiced Buddhism for many years prior to falling ill. She as well has ME/CFS, but explains that she was able to use the Buddhist teachings to help her manage her illness. On her bad days, she now has an easier time accepting her illness and remaining equanimous. 

There are many ways you can dig your own well. Be prepared for emotionally hard days. There will be days when you will struggle to feel strong for yourself, so like building a muscle it is important to build mental strength when you are well. 

Here are a few things you can do to dig your well before you’re thirsty:

  • Find a therapist or support group that you can meet with on a regular basis
  • Meditate daily
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Read books that help you develop mindset and manage anxiety and depression
  • Religion or spirituality 

When you train your mind on your off days, you will be able to help yourself cope on the tough days.

This Mood is Temporary 

Don’t take your emotions too personally and remember that moods are temporary. This too shall pass. You will not feel miserable forever, nor will these sensations be the same forever. Be mindful of what your current mood is accept that this is where you are at in the moment. In 24 hours, or even after a good cry, this mood will change. 

p.s. I wrote this to help myself get out of a few tough weeks. It was a reminder to share an optimistic point of view and to remember that I am not alone in my feelings. We all go through bad days and tough feelings, but always seem to weather the storm.

Did you find “Don’t Let The Fear Take You Over; Living Through Bad Days With Chronic Illnesshelpful? Share your experience below.

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