Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Emotional Health, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

The Blob

Do you remember the movie “The Blob”?  I remember watching this movie for the first time and loving all the oozing stuff overtaking the world.  The problem is that for many facing a chronic or life-threatening illness, the blob is confusion, overwhelm and certainly anxiety.  It can take over and leave you at its mercy.  Are there ways to clean up the blob?  Is it even necessary to clean it up?

Facing this type of far reaching turmoil, the clean-up job can take some time and if you don’t know where to start you may just let it continue avoiding more overwhelm.  The first place to stop is containment.  You don’t want these feelings of anxiety, overwhelm and disarray extend its boundaries.  You need to start creating borders or a container for these unfavorable feelings.  It’s like putting a baby in a playpen, the child can roam anywhere it wants within the confines of the playpen.  The same is true for your feelings of overwhelm or powerlessness, contain them.

Following containment comes the time when you have to figure out how are you going to make the road ahead manageable.  There are many ways to do this but they all take work and it’s up to you to roll up your sleeves and put in some sweat equity.  You are the one who will need to begin a spiritual practice, an artistic endeavor or some other structure that will reduce your level of anxiety and allow you to proceed with your day and your journey to wellness.  We’re not talking about creating an internal autocratic society, but structure prevents us from those unyielding feelings of floating and drifting in a sea of confusion.

You’ll need to build structure into the system because going through treatment means having as much on autopilot becomes a blessing.  I understand that you’re not alone in this world, so getting others to understand the complexities of your life is often cumbersome, but I assure you the anxiety and overwhelm are more consuming.  You may need to crack the whip for a short period of time as you establish the structure, but I assure you that once people see the benefits of having a structure their anxiety levels will reduce and you’ll begin to establish a harmony that is welcome and overdue.

It’s easy to get consumed by the blob because it has no understanding of boundaries.  Start with containment, move into structure and then take the leap and begin mopping up the mess.  If you stick to your guns the blob will retreat.  The anxiety and overwhelm will shrink and your life will develop a level of calm you may never have experienced before in your life…it’s a shame you had to confront a health challenge in order to learn these lessons, but they are universal so use them in all areas of your life.

What blob are you trying to contain?  What have you done to contain your personal blob?  Have you began creating structure in your life and if so has it helped?  Don’t be shy, we all need to learn each other’s strategies for dealing with the blob!

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Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

And the Oscar Goes to….

Did you watch the Academy Awards last night?  It was a long awards show with lots of time to nap.  Just a warning I often come up with thoughts based on associations.  Fortunately, for me, I can link all the parts of the association so I’m going to do that for you now so I can get to the meat of the issue.

Kate Winslet won the Oscar for Lead Actress for her role in “The Reader”.  Kate Winslet was also in the movie “The  Holiday”.  In “The Holiday” Winslet’s temporary neighbor is played by Eli Wallach.  Wallach and Winslet go out to dinner and Wallach (who had been a screenwriter for 40+ years) says to Winslet…”In films there’s the leading lady and the best friend, you’re a leading lady but you keep playing the best friend”.    Wallach’s character also focuses on the importance of gumption and that all the films he recommends that Winslet’s character watch, all the women have gumption…do you see where this is going?

Following your diagnosis you need to decide if you’re going to be the lead or the best friend.    Being the lead in the movie of your life or simply your life means having gumption.  It’s about not giving up on your beliefs, values and ideals.  It means that you have the right and the imperative to question each and every person involved in your care.  It provides you with the energy to make healing a priority amongst a thousand competing issues.

Why is all this so important?  You are the best person to portray you in your life.  There are no stunt doubles, no stand-ins and certainly no do-overs.  Every day our lives are done in one take, without editing (that often gets us in trouble).  We can choose to be a headliner or an extra in the world and since you’re unique, is there really any discussion about which role you need assume?

I remember a book about cinema therapy titled “The Motion Picture Prescription: watch this movie and call me in the morning”.  Cinema is derived from real life experience.  The stories are rewritten to make them interesting but the overall theme and the lessons learned remain the same.  Your life is worth a movie so it’s important to think about the message you want to send to the world.  As we saw last night even underdogs get to have their day of victory (“Slumdog Millionaire” winning picture of the year).

When you hear the announcer in your head read the words, “And the Oscare goes to”, make sure the name that’s read is yours.  Take that walk of fame and stand center stage being the best you there ever was or will be and feel the power that generates for healing and wellness.