I have spent the better part of the last few days in bed feeling really unwell. In the week prior, I made some choices that I knew would result in this happening. Last Tuesday I did something that previously would have been impossible for me to do. I went to see the Foo Fighters. You can probably guess from the name of this blog that I am a huge Foos fan and I was kindly given a ticket to the gig as a Christmas present from my in-laws. The gig had been rescheduled from June (due to Dave Grohl breaking his leg) and I was probably the only Foos fan in Scotland who was relieved by this! Had the original gig went ahead, I would have missed out– I spent all of that day unwell in bed. When the rescheduled gig came around, I wasn’t feeling as well as I had hoped but I was determined to go. We had seated tickets but it still took everything I had to be there.
I spent days in bed resting beforehand, spent the entire afternoon lying in a dark room on the day of the gig and then subsequently I’ve spent the days after in bed too. I don’t regret it though as, for a couple of hours at least, I was able to get lost in the music and forget about my chronic illness… well, apart from the fatigue that just won’t let up. The Foos were incredible, as always, and I had nothing but admiration for Dave Grohl– who was epically rocking out from his throne.
Would I have chosen to purchase a ticket for myself? Probably not. After all, a gig encompasses everything known to make my illness worse– travel, noise and sitting for a prolonged period. But I was gifted a ticket and I had a choice; go or miss out. I appreciate that everything I choose to do in life has a consequence– as it does for everyone. In choosing to say yes, I was also choosing the consequences that would result from making that decision.
In the past I would push on blindly and decide to do the things I wanted to regardless. I would push the thought of flare ups and consequences to the back of my mind and would try my hardest to “be normal”. When the inevitable happened, I would always feel frustrated, angry and upset. Unfortunately, having the mindset of trying to be normal and being in denial about my limitations did me no favours. Although it is still frustrating and can leave me feeling defeated, I am much more accepting of my limitations these days. I’m not saying that any negative feelings are not justified or that you should suppress them. Rather– from experience– I’ve found myself feeling more content about my situation with a shift in the way I think.
I now mentally prepare myself for the consequences, as well as physically. I realise and accept that saying yes will result in me having to spend the days that follow in recovery. If I can’t give my body what it will need after the event or I don’t think I will cope with the aftermath, I need to say no. I have that choice.
I was also previously guilty of focussing on all of the negatives after an event. I would ruminate on thoughts such as, “this is not fair” or “why do I have to suffer like this?” This only served to make me feel even more miserable and I won’t do it to myself any more. It’s really unfair. I now show myself compassion and forgiveness and instead choose to focus on the positives. It was nothing short of amazing that I managed to attend that gig. It’s one of those moments where I genuinely thought, “I can’t believe I did that!” Even though I am now suffering as a result, it was something to be celebrated.
More often than not we choose to say no– often we have no option but to and it is in our best interests to do so. To live as well as possible we need to stay within our energy envelope and not continually push; saying yes is no doubt the exception. Therefore when we choose to say yes and step outside our comfort zone, we need to cut ourselves some slack. I therefore set you a challenge: change how you think. Ask yourself if you are being unfair on yourself and remind yourself to be kind. Think of the achievements not of the consequences.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.