Take Action with Hep c and Cirrhosis blog – You’ve got to shift your perspective when the reality of living with liver disease, or cirrhosis settles in. If you’re like me, you have those days when you just get tired of living with the physical symptoms from the effects of Hepatitis C. You look back over your life and long for the way it used to be. You can get into a mental funk and find your thoughts spiral into anger, depression, or even despair. One of the things I hear most from those who have contracted the Hepatitis C virus is that there are times that they just want to give up. This blog is for those days. You CAN find a way to overcome every circumstance that you face.
Dwelling on the negative aspects of your health is not going to change anything. First of all, please know that I fully understand the effects that liver disease has on my family, friends, finances, choices, and my health. My mind races around trying to fix one of those areas, and when it seems I have thought things through to a place of peace, it jumps on to the next one.
Let’s face it: Nothing will ever be the same again. I personally think it will only get better. In the meantime, or what I call the “between time”, there are a few steps you can take that can re-adjust your mindset. It will take some practice, but there is no doubt in my mind that you and I cannot do it!
One thing you can try to do is to accept responsibility for your present circumstances. Stay with me here…. go get a bowl of low sodium chips if you need to, but hear me out. If you do not accept responsibility for where you are today, then you will always have a series of negative emotions. They can range from guilt, shame, and powerlessness all the way to blaming, unforgiveness, and bitterness. Those emotions are poison to our minds.
Maybe you contributed to your symptoms by drinking, living an unhealthy lifestyle, or doing drugs. You chide yourself remembering how careless you were when you choose a tattoo parlor was not the best place to go. Perhaps you had symptoms for years and ignored them. Maybe you were innocently going about your life and had an emergency blood transfusion. What about those who served in the military and got infected through inoculations or while having wounds cared for on an open battlefield? The list could go on.
The point is: Anger is a powerful emotion. If you are blaming yourself, your parents, your ex, your boss, a friend, your kids or anyone else for what is happening in your life today – you will never be free to move forward.
Here’s a word of truth from your best friend: Our mind passes it’s pain on to our bodies. We cannot allow our thoughts to wreak havoc on what life and liver we have left. Just accept responsibility for how your life is today. It is what it is. You do not need to explain what happened. Do not justify your behavior, even in your own mind. You did what you thought was best at the time. We know what we know about life and we make decisions accordingly. Some things simply defy explanation. We can spend our days, weeks, months, and years that we have left trying to figure out that puzzle. You know what? We will still be left without answers that fully make sense. Let it go. Just let it go and move on.
Can you think for just a day and leave those feelings alone? Think about it when you are in a better state of mind. You heard that old adage telling you not to put off til tomorrow what you can do today. Forget that in this instance.
Today, lay aside all the “might have beens” and the should and oughts. For NOW, be deliberate about moving forward into a healthy future. Distract yourself by reading something uplifting or listening to a song that does not bring a bad memory with it. You have got to love the wide wide web and the ability to listen to any song you want. If you can’t find the one that cheers you up, sing or hum.
One day last week I was fighting a bout of sinus problems. I cannot use over the counter remedies. I was sick to my stomach which reminded me of the esophageal bleed-out a few months ago. That lead to my concern for the bloodstains on my daughters carpet. She was so afraid. My granddaughters were worried enough about all the shots Nana took, and their eyes too were filled with fear. My mind went from that day in Intensive Care to today. My head was throbbing and I could not breathe. So I decided to whistle.
Now, I can only do one note, but whistle I did. That lead to me thinking about those 7 little guys in the movie and I tried to recall their names. Pretty soon, I was on Youtube watching them sing and dance. It felt ridiculous – and fun. I thought of Walt Disney coming home from the war and telling his family that he was going to draw cartoons for a living. Snow White was his first feature length animated film. That guy had some guts, and the ability to ignore the negative things around him and focus on what made him happy. He ended up making millions happy through the years.
This may seem a bit like I’m rambling. Okay, it’s full blown rambling, but listen to me: the taking responsibility part will actually free us up to forgive ourselves, pardon others, and give grace to those who need it. That includes our parents, family, friends, health care providers, insurance companies, drug manufacturers, specialty pharmacies, overnight delivery drivers, medical billing clerks, collection agencies, lab techs, nurses…
Are you getting my drift? Mmmm hmmm. I thought so. We have so many opportunities to let our bitterness out every day as we battle for our lives.
If we do not just STOP and tell ourselves that it is what it is, we will always be trying to find a way to project negative emotions OUT of ourselves and ONTO others.
Instead we can accept that this is our life. That was our past. These were our decisions. This is what others did to me. This is what I did as a result of what others did to me. Then separate it – This is what is happening now. This is how I choose to handle it. I will not place blame on myself or anyone else.
I’ll leave you with a quote that motivates me.
We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. ~George Bernard Shaw
Here’s another one written by a man who spent time in a prison camp.
Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I want to move forward and take action for my thoughts, feelings, and actions. I have a future. You do too! Let’s move on without hanging on to the things that we, or others, could or should have done.
Now, I’m your best friend in this, but if you hang onto those old negative thoughts for more than a day or two I’ll tell you what: I’m going to come over there and knock the should outta you for worrying about hep c. I’m here if you need me. Karen 🙂
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