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

Internal Tug-O-War

The poem by Robert Frost speaks about “The Road Not Taken”.  The poem starts, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both…”  It’s common to feel that way in your life, two roads before you and you can only choose one.  How do you know which one will be in your best interest or is the correct on that leads to health and healing?

Last night I was at a lecture and woman speaking is a Shaman.  She apprenticed for over 7 years with a Shaman and she delivered a very powerful message.  She shared that in this world we have one of two choices to make about lives; you can either choose to be a victim or a creator.  I heard her words and I felt as if I had one of those lightbulb moments.

This world is full of those choosing victimhood.  As a psychotherapist it was a common issue for clients, but if you watch the news, read the paper, or venture out in public it shows up in everywhere.  There are certainly life circumstances that will direct you in one direction or another, but isn’t the eventual goal for everyone to become a creator?

As an artist it’s not uncommon for me, every few years, to lay out my work in chronological order to see its progression.  It’s an easy process because the art is something tangible and can be displayed.  How can we do that with our lives?

I took a workshop with Angeles Arrien, author of The Nine Muses.  We were discussing creativity and one of the exercises was to do an autobiography of our creative lives by decade.  Most of us had lived past the age of 30 so we actually had a few decades to explore.  Couldn’t you use this method for any and all areas of your life?  What would you like to see the progression of in your life?  Think about a quality, characteristic, or action you take and see how it has transformed over time.

This is a great practice for those who are facing a health challenge because you can see the personal transformation that often takes place after receiving a diagnosis.  It wasn’t the chosen road, but the detour so how have your ideals, ideas, beliefs and values changed over time.  This is part of the healing process; it’s part of your healing journey!

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

Helplessness, Powerlessness, Frustration

Helpless, powerless and frustrated don’t have the magic touch like the 3 Stooges.  Unfortunately, the trio is often experienced following an illness diagnosis.  It can be a dark place, but it’s important to know that they are the cues to attaining wellness.

Helplessness often leaves people victimized.  How will you reframe this experience?  What can you do that will empower you on your journey to wellness?  What can you do for yourself?  When I think of someone being helpless the vision I get is a wet dishrag.  It’s something that just hangs and has no structure or stature of its own.  It’s important that you find a way to create structure because being in action alleviates helplessness.

Powerlessness is in relation to the control you have over your body.  Many believe they were powerless in developing the illness, but that’s where the powerless needs to stop.  Empowerment has to be the goal.  What is within your grasp both physically, emotionally and spiritually that will springboard you to health.  How can you take control of your treatment decisions both medically and holistically.  You have choices you get to make regarding the food you eat, the amount of rest you get and the amount of stress you take on.  Those are powerful abilities.  It’s like being an illness superhero.

Frustration runs rampant following your diagnosis.  Waiting on the automated receptionist phone lines is enough to send you over the edge.  Finding ways to manage your stress is important.  Developing contacts that will give you access to the answers you need is important.  This is one of those instances where there is a direct correlation between who you know and lowering your frustration level.  Is there a nurse or case manager that can help you expedite appointments or prescriptions?  Do you have a regular representative helping you at the insurance company to answer questions or process claims?  Do whatever it takes to release the frustration.

Any other tips you may have please share…we’re always looking for inventive ways to depose helplessness, powerlessness and frustration.  The goal is to promote health by eradicating those emotions that interfere with your journey to wellness.