Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Forest for the Trees: is there such a thing as too much support?

I’ve always had a certain affinity for getting in my own way. While I love, love, love attention to detail (and who doesn’t!), it is easy for me to get lost with the devil and miss the bigger picture. Recently, I’ve come to realize that for the past two months I’ve been so caught up in the particulars of managing my chronically ill life that I was putting the actual living of my life on hold.

Since my diagnosis of Osteoporosis, I’ve gone to physical therapy twice a week, have been seeing my therapist once a week, checking in with my nurse manager, and logging all my meals for the dietitian I’m working with. I also found myself getting re-involved in all kinds of on-line support groups and pages for Crohn’s, NF, osteoporosis, and chronic illness. As a professional patient, I had been clocking some serious unpaid overtime; all in a colossal effort to get well.

And then there's life: The A/C stopped working, and we had a fire in our basement (stories for another time.) An organization I volunteer with alerted me that I needed to set goals for the coming year and gave me two days to do it. And least I forget, I have my normal activities of daily living to contend with; shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.; sometimes I bathe.

Last week, I told my therapist that I felt like I was becoming increasingly irritated. I told her, “I have too much stuff, too many appointments, and I keep adding more stuff; I’m in the weeds!”

She reminded me of my power of choice and that my appointments are for my benefit, nothing about the therapy process should hurt or cause me angst. It is acceptable (and encouraged) to schedule my appointments so as to suit me. She also reminded me of the word “no.” What a great word! It’s one of the first words we learn to say and learn to hate to hear.

So I began the process of questioning where I was spending my health managing energies and ascertained that I may have been afraid of doing something wrong or missing out on any little bit of information that could aid me in my quest for wellness. As I looked deeper, I found places to make cuts without sacrificing my care.

Physical Therapy is done; I know the exercises and feel confident I can do them at home. Instead of seeing my therapist once a week, it’s now every other. I also spent some time on the computer leaving groups, unfollowing pages, and unsubscribing from newsletters. I weighed the pros and cons of volunteering and came to the painful decision that I just don’t have it in me to be committed at the level required so I wrote a letter of resignation (or as I called it, a letter of liberation because it actually felt freeing to write it.)

This past week was my first whole week with no appointments. I spent the extra time in my yard, digging, planting, moving rocks, and cutting back unruly vegetation. I was able to see the progress I made and it felt rather good.

One of my yard projects

By taking a step back and pausing to examine my life I had discovered that when you get past the trees, the forest is a sight to behold!
Forest, trees, or both? What do you see?