The Lies we tell ourselves

 

Learning to live with life changing disability and /or illness is difficult enough, but we often fall into to the trap of not truly being able to see the truth about ourselves. We often think of ourselves in a diminished capacity with various limitations instead of all the positives that we have to offer or all the progress we have made. We tend to allow the pain and our weaknesses to tell the story instead of looking at how much we can do and enjoy. This can often to lead to further separation, anxiety, and depression, but there is
always hope.

We are the worst narrators of our own lives. Instead of the positives we tend to focus on the negatives. We see what we cannot do instead of what we can, what we are learning to do and what we have already accomplished. When living with chronic pain and/or injuries it makes seeing the positives even harder to see because we have so many bad days making it feel like we are never going to improve. On the high pain days many of us face barely being able to move, leaving us having to take extra medication which may cause higher sedation making it hard to do much of anything.

Often this is when the guilt sets in. At this point the “shoulds” start. I should be working out, practicing my walking, helping pick up the house, etc. While it is okay for us to give ourselves the ability to rest and recover, we often do not. For example, when my pain gets above a 5, I find it extremely difficult to concentrate on   except the pain. I often use my VR helmet to gain better control while waiting for the extra pain medication to take effect. During this time, I frequently find myself beating myself up. I tell myself things like, you’re letting everyone down because you’re not working hard enough, stop being lazy and push through it because you have chores to do, and asking myself questions like what is going to happen if your pain stays
high or if the medication doesn’t work? None of these statements or questions has ever happened but my mind tends to immediately focus on the negative/lies.

Even on days when all is going well, the negative thoughts seem to creep in at times. I continue to do yoga twice a week with an instructor virtually, for example. My progress has been slow or at least much slower than I like. This has made it easy for me to focus on the lies such as, you are not getting it, you are not strong enough to do this, and you are disabled.

We all have things we excel at and things that take work. It is easy to focus on the negatives/lies we tell ourselves, but learning see things from our family, friends, therapists, instructors, and doctors is crucial as they see the truth and the progress. It helps us refocus and to keep moving forward. It aids us in recognizing all the progress we have made and how strong we really are. But our family, friends, and others are not the only truth tellers.

Regardless of what we have heard, have had planted in our minds about who we
are, what we are worth, or what others think of us one truth remains. He does not see us  as less than,  disabled, or unworthy. God says we are loved, wanted, valuable, secure, beautiful, and called to a purpose only we can fulfill. Because He loves us, He will meet us wherever we are at. In Christ there is hope. This
hope allows us to break free from our disbeliefs and internal struggles that seem to have no solutions.  Christ is there to catch us and refine us making us whole regardless of where we are today.

Published by Denise Rogers

I am a wife, mother, stepmother and grandmother who enjoys spending time with family and friends, crafting, gardening, and I am learning to live with being disabled. In 2017, after my 8th thoracic spinal surgery, I lost all feeling from the waist down as well as losing my proprioception on the right side. This has made it difficult to stand without assistive devices and made it, so I am having to relearn to walk. Plus, I have another uncommon condition called Chiari Malformation Type 1 which also creates balance issues as well as many other health issues. Because of the Chiari and the spinal cord injury, I have been left with severe nerve damage which causes a great deal of pain (5 and greater on pain scale) as well as spasticity, muscle spasms, and allodynia (burning) in various areas of my body. I have endured 8 surgeries on my Thoracic Spine and will probably need more as the drain that was placed will eventually clog and require replacement. Currently, I have a spinal to pleural cavity shunt, which drains the CSF from my arachnoid cysts into my pleural cavity. Professionally, I am a retired Health Care Professional with over 26 years of experience. I have worked in the Public Health realm as well as in Long Term Care and Acute Care. I have a B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work. It is my hope that through sharing my personal trials, experiences, and triumphs that I can help others keep moving forward. No matter what life throws at us we can always tell a better story. I know that God is with me and because of this anything is possible. His promise to be by my side every step of the way helps me to keep pushing on even when there are setbacks.

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