I often hear people ask questions about how to cope once they are stuck at home due to illness, accident or disability.
First, briefly you need to know that I understand. I live a life of limitation. Even though we now live in an accessible home, I still spend a massive amount of time limited to my bed. Pain dominates my days. I really do understand. I have learnt a thing or two about coping over the years. These are the things that helped me.
The first thing to say is that it’s OK to grieve over loss. In fact it is healthy to do so. Acknowledging our loss is an important step in moving forward. But staying in that grief and sadness forever is not healthy or helpful. So I have found that I needed to tackle my attitude.
Attitude is the biggest key to how we feel. Look at it this way, when your life falls apart and everything changes you still have choice about how you think. You still have some control. You have a choice of how you look at things. You can control how you think about what has happened. I made a conscious decision to be positive. I do not feel sorry for myself. That way lies despair and hopelessness. Every day when I wake up I have that choice. I have found it is not a one time thing. When I am hit anew by pain. When I feel afresh my limitations. I have to remind myself:
I am NOT going to give up.
I am NOT going to feel sorry for myself.
I am NOT going to focus on the negative.
Instead I DO focus on the positive, however small that is. (Warm blankets, a glass of water, programmes I enjoy on TV, friendly faces… whatever it is)
I DO keep going.
I DO feel joy. Joy is the result of all the other things I outlined above.
If you rail and rant and fight against the limitations that only leads to frustration and pain. I liken it to the way you deal with a massive wave in the sea. Can you picture that?
If you try and stand up when a giant wave comes at you, then you get knocked over and winded. If you float over it and go with it then you will not be flattened or winded, you will be lifted up by it and float upwards. Go with the difficulty rather than fight it. Allow new ways of coping to naturally show themselves after you have had the old ones washed away. They say change is painful, yes it is. But it is even more painful when you resist it. It’s easier to get through difficult times if you stay positive looking for the good that will come of it.
Attitude is the key to everything. It changes how we feel and how we act. Once we have acknowledged the pain and loss. We choose how we react to it. Then we can live a life within those new limitations and still find joy. I don’t claim it is easy, but you will find it better than sinking beneath the waves of despair.
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