Teressa phoned last night, it’s always good to hear from my daughter, but what she told me, didn’t really sink in until much later. She too is on her way to see a doctor today, with regards to a mole. Oddly, I suppose, because I told her about mine first, I didn’t realise she was calling possibly looking for a bit of reassurance from her Mum. Even odder, I think I gave it to her without realising at the time. Despite the fact that we have spent the majority of her life with millions of miles between us, we have always had a really good relationship. I would say that we have a great combination off all the things that make people belong together. We are so alike in personality, both caring, both sarcastic and both quick witted, not just in the comical sense, but in what is really going on around us, and we both share a raft of interests. So after giving her my good news about my mole, when she mentioned hers, I didn’t even consider that she might really be worried about it. I did what I always do and what she does too, made light of it, talked about it, but also quickly turned it into a joke and something of no real importance. Her one is in her armpit, and when she said that she didn’t think it was going to turn out anything serious because, she “didn’t walk around throwing my arms in the air, so the sun could get to my armpits.” I just answered, “Well, I don’t know Teressa, you do do some pretty odd things” we both just laughed, her, far louder than me. We talked for about half an hour and ended our call with her still laughing after one of our usual put the world right in comedy chats. I may not have picked up on her fear, but I still did the right thing, I made her feel good.
I know better than many, that people reaction to health varies wildly. But I don’t care what anyone says, even if your doctor has just given you a death sentence, laughter, is almost always the best reply to what life has dealt out. I have never been able to get my head around this attitude, that the scary things in life have to be spoken about in whispers. Whisper it, shout it or laugh about it, it won’t change what is happening, but it could just change how you feel about it. I have told the story of my reaction to my diagnosis often enough, but I have also read and heard first hand the reactions of many, many very different people. From what I have seen, those who then go on to handle their health the best, are the ones who have quickly and I do mean within days, taken an upbeat reaction to it. For me, it was a natural reaction, not one that I had to think about, or even make a conscious thought through reaction to. Life had taught me that wallowing is a negative reaction and only pulls you even further down. I personally, though, hate those people who tell you, “You have to stay positive”, yes, you do, but unless you know how to do that, it is as useless a thing to say, as “They will find a cure soon”, to a cancer sufferer, with six months to live.
If you think about it, the people who are raved about as being great nurses and doctors, are usually, yes, good at their jobs, but they also radiate a positive aura. They smile, they joke and they are the ones who patients sit up in their beds and beam when they see them walking towards them. What makes them great, is the fact that they make people feel good, not better medically, but better mentally. I honestly believe, that even if your not a naturally positive person, or you haven’t learnt it values through trauma, you can learn it from those around you. Surround someone in misery, and they will become miserable, surround them in happiness and they will equally become happy. Even if you are a miserable git, like it or not, if you want to survive your chronic illness for as long as possible and with as good a life throughout as possible, you have to surround yourself with happiness and laughter. Sorry if you cringe at the very idea, but it is the only way. On the good side for you misery guts, is it doesn’t have to come from people, it can come from your environment and how you spend your time. It’s about having a positive impact on your life, not anyone else’s, as happiness is personal, if it’s good for you, then it’s good for your health.
Just as much as I recommend, that everyone checks their posture multiple times throughout the day and release any tension within their muscles that they find. I equally recommend that you check your mood as well. Good posture and removed tensions, can without a doubt, reduce overall pain levels. If you don’t believe me try it. it works. So does mood checking. It doesn’t take long and it isn’t difficult, it’s as simple as just asking yourself “am I happy?” I don’t mean in the regard to life, although I do recommend doing that every six months to a year, and do so seriously. I have had to change my life totally several times because of an “NO” answer to that one. This though is a much gentler and more immediate question. “Am I happy at this minute”. Your brain will answer more honestly than you expect, mine has even thrown tears at me, when I thought things were fine. We all have our own way of giving ourselves a boost, from a piece of chocolate, a few exercises to get the blood flowing, or even a cigarette and a few minutes just to gather your thoughts. If you work on checking and lifting your mood throughout the day before it slides down into a spiral, you can improve your whole day. Like everything else, the more you practise this, the better things get and it becomes an almost automatic thing to do because you are more self-aware. Although it might sound odd at first, it also plays a role in those pain levels, but it’s logical when you really think about it. It is a fact, the exact same pain never feels as bad when you are mentally up, as it does when you’re in the pits.
No matter what we do, we can’t be happy and smiling all the time. Life has it’s ups and downs, that is just the way it is. But we can make a huge difference ourselves, and it’s well worth the effort. If you thought that the day you gave up work because of your health, that the work was over, you’re wrong. Remove the normal routine and structure to life, and the work just gets harder. We can’t rely now on the people around us to notice if we are a little down, they aren’t around us any longer. Neither are they there to make us laugh occasionally, or to fetch us a coffee to give us a boost, we have to do it all ourselves. We might be alone, but the fact is we have to be every single one of those people, who we no longer see. How we do that, takes an array of tricks. Most we have to learn for ourselves, as being individual, what makes life right for us, might not be what is right for another. Some though are basic. We all need to have goals and we all need to achieve, and we need to do it daily, something else, that work supplied that is now gone. Hobbies help, but as I found, my health made all mine impossible. Goals though can be as simple as having a bath or plucking your eyebrows, whatever is needed, or will help to make you happy. Finish that book, clean your jewellery, polish your shoes, write a book, it’s up to you. Outside the medical solutions to our health, nearly all of it comes down to just one thing, being happy. Even those exercises to help reduce your pain, ultimately that is about happiness, as less pain always makes anyone happier.
Call it happiness, or being positive, what all of it is doing is letting us live with the most horrendous thing that can happen to anyone, being told that our health is in the midst of destroying everything, we have ever known, or had planned for the future. The world will never be the same again, fact, accept it, and build yourself a new life. This is our chance to build a life that will take us to our last breath, so it has to work and we have to be happy. It cost none of us anything to try and make the most out of what we have. Ask yourself, do you want a life of misery and pain, or, do you want a life of happiness? I don’t think it should be a question that anyone should even have to ask. It is also a fact, that all of us have the tools to do so, we all have a brain, it just needs training.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 20/10/2013 – Drifting through happiness
There is something wonderful about a Sunday morning, especially when it is cold and there is a feeling of winter in the air. I have always loved that feeling when you keep the curtains closed and the fire is lit adding….