When I stopped working and spent more time at home resting, I still had a hard time managing my emotions. I would blow up at people in public if they did the slightest thing wrong to cause me discomfort, I blew up at my son without a good reason for such an outburst; I was, literally, a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off.
It goes without saying that my emotions affected my mental well-being, and over time I realized how my emotions were affecting my physical well-being. I have taught myself to calm down drastically through meditation, inner reflection, and spending time alone.
However, there was a very recent emotional outburst. I was in Wal-Mart with my son to get a few things. We learned they didn't have any electric carts available and I was in way too much pain to walk through the store, so I decided to wait in the car. We hadn't brought in my walker, to I used an empty cart for stability to get to my car. Somebody behind me started yelling, "Move it! Come on!" I turned and said, "Excuse me? I'm disabled." And he CONTINUED to yell at me for holding him up! Needless to say, I lost it. I started screaming obscenities at him, and followed him out the door, continuing to yell at him. He slunk down and started walking faster. I held my head up high until I got into my car, then I broke down into the ugly-faced, hyperventilating cry. I was angry and hurt by his insensitivity and ignorance. But I only allowed myself to cry for 10 minutes. Then I compartmentalized just like I do with everything else.
- What do you do to help yourself feel better when you’re feeling blue?
When I am depressed, I call my mom. Without fail. She always has a way of putting things into perspective for me, then we end up talking about other things that make me joke and laugh. It's almost impossible for me to be depressed around my mom!
Another thing I do is turn to my Twitter support group. I have never found a group of women more supportive than theses ladies! Whenever anybody is having a bad day due to pain, depression, anxiety, whatever, these women "flock" around them like mother hens. Even though I only know these ladies from online, I consider them my dearest friends because they have helped me so much. The best part is that we all understand what each other is going through.
- What strategies help you work through the losses brought by your illness?
Loss is still something I try to cope with on a daily basis. I lost my job, lost my Master's degree, lost my social life, and my quality of life is questionable. Every day I run through things that, maybe, I would be able to do despite these afflictions. But I have yet to come up with anything. Lately I have rediscovered my creative side when I started playing with a scrapbooking program on my computer. I've started playing with graphics and making things for my blog and online support group. But it's helped me to know that I haven't lost every part of myself through illness. I am still loved, I can still love, I can still think (sometimes) and read and write, I can still be creative, I am still needed, and I can still help people. I'm still me, but in a different light and on a different path.
Love and hugs,
P.S. The support group can be found at http://groups.google.com/group/FibroVoices