Think about what you feel pessimistic about, frustrated about or are struggling with, either now or at some point in the past. What were/are those issues? What stops/stopped you from making changes? What do you need/ did you need to confront those issues? Can you make plans to take steps to change? If you have done this, were you able to make changes? What challenges can you set yourself for the future? (Remember to make them realistic and achievable!)
Okay so this is kind of interesting. I spend so many of my days and moments trying not to be pessimistic and to put a hopeful spin on every one of my experiences. Truth is that I can throw the meanest pity party on the block. My default is self pity and it leads me into depressive episodes and sideways anger. My self pity used to keep me from even trying to recover from ED. I was so stuck to my pity pot that I really believed that no one even cared if I got healthy. I can see the faulty thinking there and the disease twisting my truths, so today I stay on the lookout for that voice in me. I’m not perfect at it though and my entire recovery has been filled with frustration and pessimism over a severe neck injury I suffered in my third month of sober abstinence.
I herniated a disc in my neck while I was showing off diving for some young kiddos at a community pool. My husband was with me and we had been dating for only about a week. Six months later the doctors decided surgery was necessary and performed a spinal fusion. A year later, I was closing in on my wedding day and my pain remained so severe that I feared I wouldn’t be able to enjoy our celebration. Three years since the injury and I am still in pain. I did get some good news just last week that the fusion is complete but received the bad news that arthritis is developing at the injury site.
Now, this whole thing has really sucked in so many ways. I have lost a lot of my strength and muscle since my injury and building it back up now is super slow going. I don’t have the same body shape at all anymore. I have always been pretty ‘gymnast shaped’. I never had hips or big boobs. That’s changed. I do have hips and I have bigger boobs. I have had to accept a whole new body. Man, it was hard enough accepting it the first time!!! I’ve been angry at myself and at people that just don’t understand. I’ve been jealous of people that get to workout as hard as they want to and feel that good ache in their muscles from a job well done. I have yelled at my husband for being attracted to me when I’m in super exhausted from fighting the constant hurting. I have cursed God for giving me recovery just to give me a serious injury.
All this is self pity. What is more is that it is self pity that to me seems justified. It seems logical and normal to feel down about something like this. It feels like I should have permission to feel sorry for myself, and the truth is I don’t have much control over what thoughts and emotions hit me at what time but I do need to look for positive outlets for them. I know from my history that I can’t afford to get sucked into the morose thinking and a defeatist attitude for too long. So, I have made a commitment to share my frustrations with other people and to find a positive in everything. Sometimes this can be challenging but for the most part it isn’t so difficult. Without my injury I would not have had to look so deep within; I would not have had to ask for so much help; I would not have had to pray so often; I would not have had to sit still and just be. In these ways my injury has given me the quality of recovery I have today. I have to remember that I don’t know what the big plan is for me and that even the seemingly terrible can bring beautiful gifts.