There’s a lot of tough stuff happening all over the world. I have very, very dear friends at the moment in South Africa who are struggling with Covid – in hospital, on dialysis, and oxygen. It’s unbearable to think of losing them.
It’s hard to reconcile so many opposites… here I am in a country where the vaccine program has made a huge difference to the number of people ending up in hospitals with serious illnesses. All restrictions will be lifted soon. That is a huge blessing which I’m grateful for. Yet… I have not been able to visit my precious family for 2 years, and there is so much suffering in SA due to the disease. Blessings and curses, all at the same time.
It’s that ‘bothness’ I’m trying to sit with.
In my recent fall down 10 stairs and the ensuing recovery journey, I admit I learned a lot about that. There were good things every day – and at the same time, there were parts of my body and the recovery that I resisted with everything in me.
The truth is… both sides exist in life, all the time.
I learned a little bit more about acknowledging the hard stuff – and not getting stuck there. I learned the value of finding even one small beautiful thing. It changes the chemistry in our body and allows for more healing (physically and emotionally). It also gives the people around us a break from the stream of “I’m so sick of struggling like this!” My poor husband really didn’t know how to handle all the bad bits anymore.
Sidenote: We have very different strengths – which means we react differently to situations. And that’s a topic for a long article on another day!
The first time I was able to go for a very short walk just to the edge of the forest again, I burst into tears. From relief and gratitude. For a few weeks, it felt like I’d never ever make it there again… Small, incremental bits of progress got me to the forest… and helped me to realise how important it is to find the joyful bits that fill our hearts with good feelings.
That triumph was weeks ago.
Now, thankfully, I can walk 40 minutes at probably 80% of my previous pace. It truly is wonderful – and you know, the journey was not linear. Everything but.
I said so many times, to so many people “I think ‘I’ve turned a corner now!” … and days later I experienced what felt like going backward again. Boy, the despondency and aggravation! Ugh. I almost felt like a fraud then.
We can also feel like a failure when that happens. Thoughts like ‘What’s wrong with me? I have all these tools, why am I not healing? What else do I need to do or learn? I’ll never get there! This will never heal! I’ll never get my life back! This feels like a punishment!” can start taking over.
What I learned
I learned a thing or two about personality patterns that can keep pain (and anxiety about the pain) in place, I now recommend the Curable app and related podcasts to everyone who struggles with pain, chronic conditions, or anxiety. You can find Curable on Android and iPhone, and their podcasts are:
- Tell me About your Pain
- Like Mind, Like Body
I also learned that giving up is really appealing sometimes (though it’s not the option I chose)… “I just can’t do this anymore”, I thought many days. It wasn’t just the healing of the coccyx/sacral bones – but also soft tissue and nerves that were damaged. Such a confusing mix of symptoms, issues, and challenges that truly – some days I thought it’d be better to just be done with life.
No, I did not have suicidal thoughts. It just got really tiresome to deal with awful symptoms that felt like they would never end. No light at the end of the tunnel, not knowing when or how they would resolve.
I thought often of others who were worse off than me. I acquired huge empathy for anyone dealing with chronic pain or health issues. And I understood very clearly the value of having support, kindness, hope, and someone to share with. We need each other.
All relentless issues can feel like this
All our issues in life can feel this way… whether we struggle with a pattern (like not being able to set boundaries), or physical pain, anxiety, not finding our purpose, hating our career or work, or going through grief – all of it can sometimes have us feel “I can’t go on, it’s too much” or “I’m a failure, I’ll never get out of this”.
Those thoughts aren’t the truth. Yes, they can feel very true and have us behave accordingly. Unfortunately we don’t act from logic and reason. We act as a result of emotions and beliefs in our subconscious.
There are ways to soften and gently change those thoughts and feelings. That will enable us to make wiser decisions and keep making progress towards our goals or intentions.
The absolute best way I know of to work with these beliefs and thoughts is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), also known as tapping. It can clear so many of our bothersome thoughts in very short spaces of time. We do not have to be in ‘talk therapy’ for many years!