Everything had been going fine until that day - the day I thought I was paralyzed. Then it all changed. But life happens and I just figured that with a bit of rest, physiotherapy and medication I’d be fine again. Is that how it happened for you, quickly? Some people get a ‘little’ sick and figure that they can work through it, tough it out, and all will be well. But it doesn’t happen that way, they never seem to get better, and the doubt creeps in. Will I ever get well?
Time passes but the pain doesn’t seem to. There are treatments tested, some seem to work better than others, but none get you back to that ‘before this happened’ stage. Did you ever feel that way? The doubt creeps in because you begin to realize that the doctor is grasping at ways to help you but he doesn’t really have very many answers either.
Oh, and there are the good days. The ones where you think that the answer has been found and you are now on the path to recovery. Only you’re not, it’s just been a temporary relief and your body reverts back to the pain. Now you are certain about your doctors’ position and the doubt creeps in about your future and the long-term.
Given enough time you come to a place of acceptance of how life is now. You learn to read and understand your body, when to take naps, when to say no to events, what your limits are. Within this new paradigm you begin to appreciate your life and your body and you learn how to bring meaning back into your life. Yet the doubt creeps in about how worthwhile this all really is.
Doubt. It steals possibilities from your life, puts you in a place of stress or worry, holding you back at every stage. Yet it creeps in without you even realizing it sometimes. And the fatigue and depression that can accompany pain doesn’t help ease it either. So what can help reduce or stave off that doubt?
Once you recognize that doubt is creeping in, acknowledge it, denial won’t help you overcome it. Everybody has doubt in their life at some point, what matters is how you manage it. Adopt a belief that ‘better must come.’ Not just a positive thought of good stuff that flits in one minute and out the next. No, this must be a belief, through every fiber of your being, that what is happening has a sliver lining. It is a belief that you will have to commit to everyday, and numerous times a day.
One of the ways to help your commitment is to take action. If you have a plan - review it, look at all you have accomplished so far, and revel in it. If you don’t have a plan, make one. If you are feeling down - lift yourself up with music, friends, reading great stories or watching inspiring movies. Do something.
Gratitude is an amazing way to get to a feeling of joy and peace. Through those feelings come hope, and as the great American poet Emily Dickinson said,
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
Never give up hope; it blocks the doubt from creeping in, settling in, and taking over.
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