Coping Corner: A Small Way I Deal with a Lot of Guilt Feelings

This is just a small way that I deal with a lot of guilt feelings and bad cases of “poor me.” When I am stuck in a flare, or if I’m just stuck in my own head, I tend to get very hard on myself about all I am not able to do.

I have found that if I am able to make a list of all the things I have done to contribute to the functioning and well-being of myself and my family, it really adds up to much more than I would have ever guessed.

I give this list to my husband so that he can see that I haven’t “abandoned” him to cope with everything on his own, but that my heart and mind are always working, even if my body can’t. He really appreciates these “reports” as well.

I add every single thing, whether it’s “got dressed” or “reviewed problem with daughter’s teacher” or “shopped online for Christmas presents” or “read article on CFS, made notes to ask doctor” or “designed dress in sketchbook to keep creative juices flowing.”

This list makes both of us feel that I am still part of the team, and that I haven’t given up.

If I were single, I would still do this, and it would seem almost even more important to do so, since I wouldn’t have anyone recognizing my efforts except for me. (Not that my dear husband and kids are constantly doing this… 🙂

I suppose this is one for the Coping Corner, and I doubt I am the only one to suggest this, but I didn’t have anything to offer that has “worked” for me long term as well as this.

From a physiological standpoint, I think making a list is something that requires the left side of the brain to function, and the more that is stimulated, the better we feel. I read an article about this a while back. It’s like, if we do things, but don’t acknowledge having done them with our left brain, it feels the same as if we hadn’t done it at all.

For instance, if I design in my sketchbook, that’s a right-brain activity, and that is fun and feels good while I’m doing it. But the recognition of it with the left-brain – by mentioning it out loud or writing it down – is what makes the feeling of accomplishment and well-being last. Hope that all makes sense!

I think writing down “what works for me” is a very good left-brain activity for all of us, and probably makes us realize how very hard we’ve worked and how far we’ve come. – L

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