I saw this on Twitter today on Marlo Thomas' Twitter page. This really resonated with me and I re-Tweeted it because I liked it. Often I know I have a tendency to focus too much energy on what has happened in the past with regards to my IC. Maybe you can identify with that; maybe not. But for me, this is an issue that I recognized in myself and work on with my therapist frequently.
A perfect example is over focusing on my history with chronic UTI's. While I did have a relapse recently, I went nearly 6 months without an infection after battling them for 4 years. Did I focus positive energy on that accomplishment? I tried. But lurking in the background all the time was the constant worry of when will this end? Instead of focusing on the success I was having "in the moment", I would worry about the past and if it would happen again. Or often focusing on something like these UTI's and focusing too much energy on the WHY instead of focusing on what I can do going forward to treat my symptoms.
I think the same is true of focusing a lot of energy on flares. This seems to be a common theme among IC patients; spending so much energy on trying to figure out what they might have done to cause a flare. Of course sometimes we know; we ate something we shouldn't have, we overdid it physically, we're stressed out about multiple issues and more. When we KNOW what caused a flare, it's ok to recognize it and move on knowing you won't do that again. But sometimes there is just no reason; sometimes flares just happen. But so many of us focus so much energy on trying to figure it out instead of focusing on what can be done to help alleviate the symptoms of the flare and move forward.
None of this is an easy task. Like I said, I work on this with my therapist. I've always been kind of a "glass half empty" person and never liked that about myself. I think the same could be said about many of us suffering with IC. It's NOT easy. We are struggling with so much and often having a very difficult time finding successful treatments. So I'm not saying everything should be sunshine and roses every day when you wake up in pain and don't have good options.
What I am saying is that I felt that way too but did not want to. As we all do, I had a lot to deal with and it was causing anxiety and I didn't like that. I didn't like bursting into tears all the time and I really did not want to spiral into depression.
So for me that meant accepting the referral from my IC doctor to an excellent psychologist. She has been a life saver and I think it was the smartest thing I've ever done. Learning to COPE with our pain and struggles can actually help with how you feel. It's not a miracle fix, but it helps. And, I don't know about you, but I'll take any help I can get. It's one tool in my tool box of things to use to help me focus on "building the new" which to me just means focusing my energy on how I can help myself. Identifying what that means, then going about doing it. Talking to my doctor continuously about options, working with my therapist, writing this Blog, my Support Group and more. All these things help me to take the focus of what is past and what I cannot change and help me look forward and work toward figuring out what I CAN do to help myself.
Every day is a new day. What happened today can be set aside and we can start anew each and every day. So all I'm suggesting is that this is something to think about; see if this speaks to you as it did me. See if you feel like you want to make a change and then figure out how to go about making that change.