Saturday, January 19, 2013
I am not a super hero
For this new year I have decided to do things a little different then what I normally do them. I had a busy year last year and accomplished great things surrounding mental health promotion and stigma reduction. My schedule was very full and I seem to be always on the go. I enjoyed this as it kept me busy and I felt as if I was contributing to my community and abroad. However looking back, my mental and physical health lacked the attention that it needed and I ignored it and pushed onward. I probably should have done something different before now as I would not have struggled as much as what I did. Now while taking a break, I have been able to look back and know what I need to do differently going forward.
I knew that if something did not change then I was headed for a hospitalization on the psychiatric unit due to the state I was in. Physically, I was wore out, in pain and exhausted more then usual. Mentally I was close to the breaking point. I have to watch my overall state of being and closely monitor it along with my pain levels on a constant basis. Living with several chronic conditions poses to be a challenge but after awhile one starts to become an expert in knowing when things start to change in health. Normally, I am able to catch things before they get worse and know what to do with the help of my support person. Unfortunly, I have been without her for six months and was floundering around without someone that really knew and understand what was occurring. I had a chance to speak with my support person briefly before Christmas and something she said to me clicked inside my brain. I knew exactly what I must do to look after my own well being.
My days right now are often filled with healing down time and learning a new process of coping. I am learning that even though my brain thinks I am a super hero and I can do everything- my body is telling me this is not the case. I may want to be everywhere at once and help out as much as I possibly can however, I am just one person with lots of challenges that I face on a daily basis. I have been ignoring what my body is saying to me and often push it to levels that are detrimental to my own health. I have also suffered mentally because of this choice that I have made. Now, I must learn how to slow down and pace myself with the things that I decide to do, sometimes even breaking up tasks if they cannot be done all at once. This is very hard for me because at times I have the all or nothing mentality where I either do everything or I don't do it at all. But if I do things all at once, my health suffers. So, I am learning how to prioritize better, figure out what is important to me (not others) and how to plan it into my day. Planning comes in handy when I am trying to figure out how to achieve things.
There are times where I dislike having down times and days where I have to schedule that I need to stay in. I like to go and give back to my community as much as I can. Its important for me to have a plan for my day so that I do not feel as if I wasted the day. But, I am learning to remember that having a day where I rest is not a bad thing because if I did not take a day here and there then I wouldn't be functioning well on the days that I am needed. Even still, there are days where I am needed and I cannot give 100%- but I try to give the best that I can.
So, I am hoping that with my new skills that I am learning, I hope to have more quality of life instead of quantity. Quantity is great however if it is a daily struggle to go about one's day and function well- then that is not really living... its not quality. So, I am hoping in the future to have more quality days were I am able to enjoy living. Living rather then merely existing.
I also need to remember... I am not a super hero. I am sure that there are many out there who can relate to this and want to do everything they can at 100%. It works for awhile but slowly a person starts to burn out and are not able to give their all, all the time. So, in these times you need to be selfish and know that it is okay to take a step back and take care of yourself. If you will not take time out for yourself then no one else will either. Its so important that you see yourself having value and worth in order to make it through. We need to do a better job sometimes at looking after ourselves and if we need to take time off from activities then so be it. Sacrificing your life most times is not worth it for things that will be there tomorrow to do. Be encouraged to know that you are not alone in your struggles with balance and it is okay to look after yourself.
You matter most in your life story... the key player needs to be looked after too.