"Most people do not realize that as they continue to find things to complain about, they disallow their own physical well-being. Many do not realize that before they were complaining about an aching body or a chronic disease, they were complaining about many other things first. It does not matter if the object of your complaint is about someone you are angry with, behavior in others that you believe is wrong, or something wrong with your own physical body. Complaining is complaining, and it disallows improvement."
- Esther Hicks, best-selling author and speaker.
I don't know about you, but I have had (note the past tense) people in my life who did absolutely nothing but complain. You know those people:
- Their life sucks
- Everything bad happens to them
- They can never catch a break
- It's too hot/cold/rainy/not enough rain
- Every headache is a migraine
- Every migraine (if they truly have them) is a tumor
- Every cold is pneumonia
- Every scrape needs stitches
- They are too fat/skinny/tall/short
- They aren't pretty enough
- Their boss does not appreciate them
- Their spouse does not appreciate them
I could go on forever with their list of what's wrong with their lives- because they do.
To quote Andy Cohen (@BravoAndy) "Here's What": When you are around these people one of two things happens. Either you fall into the pattern of spending all of your time with them comforting them and telling them how wrong they are OR you fall into the same pattern of complaining about your life too. Neither of these two things helps your state of mind. I know that for me, just being around them makes me feel completely drained. Which is why I have made concerted efforts to remove them from my life.
That said- I have been guilty a time or two of falling into this trap. Not about my life in general because I am well aware that not only do I have a pretty terrific life but a great family and support system as well. But when it comes to my RA and Fibromyalgia, I have recently found myself backsliding in a big way.
A few weeks ago I had an appointment with my Rheumy. At the previous appointment she had tested my RF because she didn't quite believe that they were as high as Seracare had reported and she normally only tests ESR. I asked her about the results and she said something to the effect of "despite the fact that you numbers are quite high (they were reported as >600) your disease progress is fairly stable and that's all we can ask. In fact, I think we can go to 6 mos between appointments and you can always come in if you need me between." At the time my hips were aching (still are) my constant back issues were flaring, and the fibro in my neck and shoulders was in an upswing. All I could think, all I could concentrate on was that this is as good as it will ever be again which led to "I don't know if I can deal with this forever." As the pain of the flare ramped up and then settled back to "normal", every negative thought that ran through my mind fed into another and it started to spread into other areas of my life. Oh I tried (very hard) not to complain to my family and friends which just served to add another layer of "no one wants to listen to you bitch constantly" self talk on top of the rest. I pulled away from writing, I spent my online time playing games instead of interacting with people and at home I closed myself off from everyone except my puppies unless I could deflect attention elsewhere. It was a horrible circle that led me to the point that I just wanted to stay in bed all day and resented the fact that I couldn't. Finally I woke up one morning and essentially told myself that enough was enough. I couldn't keep doing that to myself because it was doing far more damage than the actual pain. I went back and read that quote. Then I read it again. Then I read it out loud. Then I moved on. If this is my lot in life, okay. It may not be the life I imagined but you know- I CAN focus on the good things and get through this. I can accept the pain and fatigue and work with it. I can still accomplish other things. I just need to find out what I want to do next, starting with working on my book again and get going. I can do this.