Day 21: I’m dealing with two old challenges today — illness and mistakes

If you noticed that yesterday’s blog post was a little more … how should I say it? discursive? rambling?  spacey? … than usual,  dear reader — I have an excuse.

I’m sick.

I don’t think I have The Flu. (I seem to be escaping that, thank goodness.)  I think it’s just a cold.  Two days ago on Saturday, the first day of the long weekend (of course), I came down with a sore throat and had a slight fever. And when I was writing yesterday morning, I was definitely feeling under the weather.

And because I was sick,  the following blog topic occurred to me:  how illness affects my sense of self worth.

Even when I’m a little bit ill, being sick affects how I feel about myself.

I’m not sure whether that’s common for people. I haven’t really checked that out in any real way with other people. In other words, I haven’t used the helpful skill — an “antidote” to the Cognitive Distortion of Mind-Reading — of Reality Testing.  To put it more simply, I haven’t asked other people, “When you are even slightly ill, does it affect your sense of self worth?”  I mean, I know that serious and chronic illness can definitely affect people’s sense of self-worth, but A COLD?

The reason I haven’t really checked that out  before is this:  I assume that I’m different from other people in how illness affects me, because I dealt with so much illness when I was a child.  So I just assume that I’m “weird” when it comes to that.

So I guess I’ll take this opportunity to do some Reality Testing, right here and right now.  That is, dear reader, feel free to leave me a comment on this post, answering these questions:  When you are ill, does it affect how you feel about yourself?  Does your self esteem — your sense of how worthy you are — get affected?  If so, how?

Well, I think that’s another first for me, in This Year of Blogging Daily — asking for a response from my readers, in a specific way.  I enjoyed asking, I have to say.

And it occurs to me, at this moment, to write this:  If this blog is more — how shall I say it? — discursive? rambling? spacey? — than usual (and I know it is) what do you want from me?  I’M SICK!

And it’s super early in the morning, too.

So, yes, it’s super early in the morning.   I woke up at 3:30 AM, a little while ago, and my throat was hurting.

And that leads me to the second “challenge” I named in the title of this blog.

Mistakes.

When I woke up at 3:30 AM, and realized that my throat felt worse, I believed that I had made a mistake yesterday.  And here were some thoughts that ensued:

Oh, no!  My throat feels worse!  I shouldn’t have gone outside yesterday for a walk!  What is the matter with you?  Even though you felt a lot better yesterday, you should have known better than to start doing things that early!  If you had stayed in bed all day yesterday, you would be feeling better now. You’ve probably screwed things up for this week, too. And you have so much to do at work and so many other things to take care of!

Wow.  That was actually kind of amazing to get those out of my head and into this post.  A little harrowing, actually, but helpful.

So, those are the kind of Judgmental Thoughts that can come up for me, when I believe that I’ve made a mistake.  And I know I’m not alone with THAT ONE.  I hear about people’s self-judgment when they believe they’ve made a mistake, a lot.  (And I’ll write about that more, in a future post, for sure.)

But here’s the good news:  After I woke up and started having the thoughts described above, I noticed them and said this to myself:

Okay!  You’re having judgmental thoughts because you think you’ve made a mistake.

And that helped a lot, dear reader, just to notice that and to Name It.

And I got out of bed, got some orange juice, grabbed my laptop, and decided to write a post.

And I did!

I think I can go back to sleep now.

One more thing.  I’m going to make a commitment to myself — and to you, dear reader — right now. Even though, at some point in the near future, I might have the thought  that I made a mistake by writing this post (instead of trying harder to fall back asleep),  I will do the following:

Notice it, name it, and let it go, dammit!

Thanks, dear reader.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Day 21: I’m dealing with two old challenges today — illness and mistakes

  1. Gene Phillips

    Now I am curious about how illness might make me think about myself more generally. It certainly makes me fretful and that probably means I look at myself more harshly.

  2. Jenny Potter

    I definitely relate to feeling down on myself when I am sick. There’s just a sense of being slower, cloudier-brained, not as useful or productive as I delude myself into thinking I am when I’m well. Interesting, because I could look at illness as an opportunity to simply slow WAY down, basically just rest, and give myself permission to not HAVE to accomplish anything for a few days…

  3. To answer your question — yes, when I am sick, I sometimes lose the whole parachute. I have MS and cancer and usually, those don’t affect my mood too much because I understand how they are affecting me quite clearly. (MS fatigue can creep up on me, though.) But the start of a cold or a fever or (most recently) undiagnosed anemia …. those things can affect my view of myself and cause me to feel hopeless and incompetent. I think it’s because I don’t expect little things like that to take me down and so I believe the cruddy, persuasive thoughts.

    I wasn’t sick as a child, except for repeatedly getting pneumonia. I was hospitalized for that when I was two and have been a bit afraid of the Easter bunny ever since (the bunny came round when I was in an oxygen tent) but other than that, there has been no lasting psychological trauma related to childhood illness. There’s no deep reason for being blown so far off course by a virus. It just happens. (But not always! There’s the perplexing part.)

    • It just happens. But not always.

      That about sums it up. Thank you for this comment. It is always a gift to hear from you.

  4. Pingback: Day 1500: Mistakes | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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