Whats in your mirror today?

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Image from Steemit

When you look in the mirror what do you see?

Is it an image of success? Or one of failure? It’s a strong word that. Failure. And I believe we use it way too much. Because really, just having got out of bed and fixed the sheets is a success. If you’ve got a pet you’ve probably fed it and possibly yourself. You may have said a prayer if you’re a religious person. And most of us will already have an idea of what we want to do with our day and been in contact with friends or family.

So really, the day will have got off to a fairly good start.

But have you said anything positive to or about yourself today? Or have you focused on the negatives? The washing up left in the sink from last night’s dinner or the hoovering that needs doing?

I’ve written recently about self judgement and the ways in which others judge us. Or at least, the way we think they’re judging us.

I’ve been in hospital not too long ago and when going through my medical history and what medication I’m on, the nurse’s voice often turns to a bit of a whisper when going on to ask about my alcohol consumption and what I’m doing about it.

Immediately I feel judged and ashamed. I feel like a failure.

The image of the below was sent to me when I was going through a particularly tough time. And when I spoke to friend of mine who is very religious she told me to rememver that Jesus doesn’t judge me. He loves me. And he forgives me. That’s positive self talk.

So why do we judge ourselves so harshly?

If we take the statement from the image and apply it to ourselves we face the question of why we allow ourselves to believe the judgements of others or our assumption of their judgements?

Perhaps instead we shout be asking: what is that person thinking and feeling? Can we help them? The obvious reaction might be to feel resentment towards them but does that help us ourselves or them?

I’ve heard it said that there is no such thing as a selfless good deed. But maybe this is the exception to the rule.

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions but they’ve been circling round in my head and I’d love to hear what anyone’s thoughts are. (if you’d read this post this far. I know it’s a bit of a ramble).

And there I go again – self judgement and assuming no one will find it interesting. I want to read more into what has been written on the topic and I’ll blog about what I find out.

The dangers of online symptom checkers…

Image from Health Snap

So last week someone I live with was in hospital with a nasty stomach bug. Fortunately he seems to have made a full recovery and is back home. But obviously when I started to develop minor symptoms I panicked. I went onto WebMD and put in my symptoms to the site’s checker service and quite frankly it was frightening.

Apparently there’s a whole host of things I could have – and that’s without even saying about the housemate’s recent hospitalisation with the bug.

I would urge everyone to be cautious when using these sites. The last thing you need when you’re not feeling on top form is to be told a bit of bloating needs urgent care… Pretty much everything says go to a&e, even though it might just be a bit of a stomach upset.

And apparently I’m not the only person who feels this way. As posted in the Henry Ford Blog:

For example: You wake up in the middle of the night with a pain in the lower left side of your stomach. You get up and walk around, but it doesn’t go away. So you search the internet for “left-side stomach pain.” You find out it could be constipation, or diverticulitis, or kidney stones, or a bladder infection, or gas — or cancer. Your mind goes right to the cancer. Oh no, what if it’s pancreatic cancer? And then you can’t sleep, so you keep surfing.”

Unfortunately my Dr’s surgery has quite an unsympathetic receptionist and told me I have to wait until tomorrow (now today) to speak to a doctor on the ‘gp advice line’. Well that service only lasts for one hour and I have tried. But after being on hold for at least 40 minutes it shut off so I’ll just have to try again tomorrow and hope for more success.I’m not too concerned; I think like many others at this time I’m just being uber-precautious.

Just everyone, be careful about what you read online. Right now we all need to stay safe from coronavirus and the last thing we need is more stress. Cos let’s face it – hospital is awful at the best of times, but when being there puts you at risk of a worse disease, well, what’s the best option. Do you go for treatment? Or do you stay home and hope to battle through it?

Your guess is as good as mine on this one.

Happy birthday Einstein – and thank you for your inspiring words

Better late than never… happy birthday to Albert Einstein for Saturday. Chap would have been 138 a couple of days ago – quite a milestone.

Image from Wikipedia

One of the phrases that got bandied around when I was at rehab came from him – that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It pretty much sums up every addict, in my opinion.

Every time (and sadly there’s been many) I’ve gone through a detox I’ve come out the other end convinced I’m ‘cured’ and can return to normal social drinking. Glass of wine with dinner, a bloody mary with brunch on a Sunday, champagne to celebrate some special event…

But he was totally right. I’ve tried and failed so many times, so why is it that my brain convinces itself that THIS TIME I can do it?

When real life is too hard to cope with, let your imagination take you somewhere else.
Image from Raquel Dorsey’s Pintrest page

I don’t have an answer to that question. Maybe it’s what the universe has planned for me – if you believe in all that – or maybe I really am just completely delusional. Either way failure is something I need to learn to accept. And if I stop trying I’ll stop failing. It sounds so simple. But it’s not.

My favourite Einstein quote, however, is ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’. When life seems to just be pummeling you into the ground, imagination can take you anywhere you want to be.

I think it’s why I enjoy reading and it’s something I’m trying to get back into – now that I’ve got some much free time on my hands. There’s nothing better than getting lost in a good book. It doesn’t need to be the works of Shakespeare or one of the Bronte sisters’ tomes or anything ‘high brow’. I love a good beach read and it really does seem to have a positive affect on me.

Recovery is such a strange beast. And it’s different for every person. I guess it’s just about finding what works for you. For me, and apparently Einstein, imagination is the greatest way to switch off from the world. Yes, knowledge can get you far in life when it comes to jobs etc. But without imagination where’s the fun? It’s the longest, toughest thing you’ll ever do – life, that is. So we might as well make it as enjoyable as possible.

Now if this isn’t a man who liked fun then who is?! – Image from BBC

Love thyself AND thy body… Self care in recovery

Photo courtesy of houseofcourage.ca

‘Stop drinking’, they say, ‘get your act together and be “normal”.’

Um yes, that’s the end goal but there’s so much more to it. And I’m not just talking about psycho-therapy.

Ultimately, recovery (or not) comes down to the individual and sometimes it’s the littlest, seemingly mundane tasks that help.

One of them is starting to love yourself again. Alcohol might, as it id for me, begin as a really shitty coping mechanism for my eating disorder. Then it spiraled out of control. For a while when one was OK, the other wasn’t. I can now recognise that. Then both got a million times worse at the same time.

It wasn’t until rehab that I realised the importance of re-learning how to love and look after myself. I didn’t feel like I deserved it but there is copious amounts of research to support how crucial it is. One example is published on Science Direct, based on a 2019 conference, which reads: ‘The beneficial effects of self-care include improved well-being and lower morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs.’

In rehab we had a hot tub, a sauna, a gym. There were weekly acupuncture and massage sessions. Irrelevant, you may think. But I truly believe it helped, even if only to distract my mind for 30 minutes/ an hour at a time.

According to the Silver Ridge Recovery blog there are six main aspects To achieving and maintaining successful recovery:

  • Fuel your brain and body with healthy food. …
  • Have fun and relax every day. …
  • Get plenty of sleep. …
  • Exercise. …
  • Reduce stress. …
  • Stay mindful.

Science Direct goes on to add: “There is growing recognition of the need for people with chronic conditions to assume responsibility for their own health and to be actively involved in self-care. Out of 525,600 min in a year, patients spend only on average 66 min or 0.01% of the time with healthcare professionals (Racine, 2017). All other health maintenance, illness prevention, monitoring and management activities are done by persons with chronic conditions and their care partners as self-care activities (Riegel et al., 2017). A care partner can be defined as “a person who provides unpaid care to someone with a chronic illness, disability or other long lasting health or care need, outside a professional or formal framework” (https://eurocarers.org/about-carers/).”

Over the next few posts I’m going to be looking into the positive results of taking the time to do things such as care for your skin, your hair and your body. As well, of course, as your mind.

Just take the example of my kitten, Bruno, who loves nothing better than playing with his toys, eating nutritious food he likes, going for a run aroun outside then having a chill out on his blanket…

Make like Bruno and have a cat nap