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Thyme For Literary Healing: Differentiating Between Taking Care Of Ourselves And Meeting Daily Responsibilities

Post Published: 26 July 2010
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Category: Thyme for literary healing, Thyroid Patient Perspective Posts
This post currently has 8 responses. Leave a comment

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to take care of ourselves. We are dealing with thyroid disease, multiple chronic conditions and/or thyroid cancer. Additionally, we have lives, families, careers, and responsibilities. Meeting all of our obligations, paired with the ‘need’ or is that ‘requirement’, to take care of ourselves is a seemingly impossible, or is that, daunting task.

In today’s “Thyme for a literary healing”, I thought we’d talk about how we manage everything, if it all. We can share tips and seek advice, among other things.

Here are a few questions to get us going:

  1. Do you know how to take care of yourself?
  2. When you take care of yourself, do other things in your life fall to the wayside?
  3. What is your definition of taking care of yourself?
  4. Do you feel that financial and ‘life’ obligations prohibit you from taking care of yourself the way you wish you could?
  5. How do you manage EVERYTHING?

Ready? Set. Write!

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8 Responses to “Thyme For Literary Healing: Differentiating Between Taking Care Of Ourselves And Meeting Daily Responsibilities

  1. Bee says:

    Rest. Read. Ask to be babied. I know that sounds weird but sometimes family aren’t aware when we are pushing ourselves too hard and don’t have enough sense to stop -so I ask my other to hold me or rub my feet or tell him to feel sorry for me out loud. This usually ends up with both of us starting to giggle and even turns into a good belly laugh. sometimes i provoke a minifight-just enough to clear the frustrations in my brain and clear the air-this is also good for a laugh; but if my other isn’t up for a little verbal sparring it just pisses me off. So that one can be trickier.

    But the best thing I’ve done for my personal caregiving is to say out loud what i’m feeling-good or bad- i really don’t want to leave this earth or my body with any unfinished business and i certainly will not walk around the big pink elephant in the middle of the room anymore. Acknowledge it and deal with it

  2. Bee says:

    …and one more thing- if i’m feeling like crap it really annoys me when my other decides to feel like crap at the same time. So I have established a new rule. if I acknowledge feeling like crap first, he is not allowed to feel the same kind of crappy-Ex: me: geesh, my joints are killing me today./ Him: I know, my hips are really sore, I might have to get a hip replacement./ Me: today is my day to hurt. I said it first. You may have tomorrow to complain but not today. I called it..etc…

  3. Kathy says:

    1.Do you know how to take care of yourself?
    I think I know WHAT I need to do, but the problem is, I don’t do it. The exercise, eating right, taking time for myself..It’s not all portioned equally. Most of the time, I’m looking for the energy just to get through the next half hour of the day.
    2.When you take care of yourself, do other things in your life fall to the wayside?
    You’d better believe it. When I am on top of my eating plan..getting a good variety of food, the right amount of calories to help lose weight, and doing that exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, and sleeping well, I am happy, have energy and my work and play are a lot more focused and fun. I know this because I have been there done that..but it was three years ago, that I felt that well.
    3.What is your definition of taking care of yourself?
    Holistically, taking care of all of me…eating good food,including special foods or drinks that I love, working and feeling productive, feeding my soul with spirituality, playing, being with others, laughing, sex, I want it ALL.
    4.Do you feel that financial and ‘life’ obligations prohibit you from taking care of yourself the way you wish you could?
    I often think if I had enough money to pay someone else to kick my ass into shape, I would be better off. There’s plenty of stuff that can be done for free, however. I work too much and don’t play enough, but I’m learning to balance. Personally, I feel that it is depression that keeps me from doing a lot for myself. I get into the ‘why bother’ state.. I am there most of the time. I wish Vitamin D3 was the magic that I need, because I cannot take depression meds. I have to push myself so often. Some days, I feel antagonistic toward almost everyone. When I know that I wake up that way, if so many folks around me are so terrible, I know it must be me. I tell everyone it is one of ‘those’ days. I say..”I’m having a day. I hate you all equally, but I will be better hopefully as early as tomorrow, so bear with me and stay away today”. People at least at work have learned to listen. Other days, I fall into the abyss of my sadness well. I hate that place, because it is not so easy to climb out. I try to acknowledge that I’m there as well, and be more spiritual and ride it out.
    5.How do you manage EVERYTHING?
    I don’t. I just do the best I can with what I’ve got. My body, my looks, my home, my job..if I do my best and fall short, well, I’ll try again tomorrow. Today, on PBS on that Clifford, the Big Red Dog show, the children were practicing on getting their chores done before they could go out and play. I’m not too keen on that philosophy. I grew up that way, and often feel guilty about ‘playing’ if every single thing is not done first. Sometimes, you just have to take care of yourself and say..the work will wait, life is too short, it’s time to play…and then, do just that!

  4. coffeedog says:

    Yes, no, idk, yes, & not well. 😀
    Or, what Kathy said.
    1. I know SOME of what I need to do, but then I feel like I only know SOME of what’s wrong with me. And if the doctors don’t even know how to fix those things, then how should I?
    2. Doing all the things I feel I should to take care of myself would be a full-time job. Which, now that I’m unemployed, I guess I’d be available for, in theory. But yeah, I’ve had to decide between going out with friends from work, or keeping that appointment with the chiropractor; between “having a life” and trying to improve my quality of life. Still working on that. :/
    3. Getting enough sleep, getting up before noon, doing things I enjoy, doing things I don’t necessarily enjoy even if it’s not technically “work” (builds character, dontcha know), eat right, drink enough water, exercise, pray, sing, laugh, socialize, go to all my doctors regularly & do what they say. (See, that’s not so much, is it? :P)
    4. If I had the money, I’d go to one specialist after another until i found The One. I’d try all the alternative treatments, one at a time, until something took. I’d buy organic and not use chemicals and yada yada yada.
    5. How do I manage? Not terribly well. Some days are better than others. You try to ride out the bad days, savor the good ones, and remember it could always be worse.

  5. Kathy says:

    If I rethink number 2, about other things falling to the wayside if I take care of myself..No, they don’t fall to the wayside, they actually come to the front, because I have the energy and motivation to do it all, to ‘git er done’…Today was a pretty good day with a little more energy..why?? the air was less humid, the sun is out and the breeze is blowing..AND I had a Monday OFF!! All conducive to getting things done early and taking care of me, which I did..MOST of the chores were done before I said..hmmm..I’d like to go to the beach. I called the kids and withn a half hour, I was being taught how to fish by my 7 year old grandson..Now, that’s a great day for me!

  6. faith72 says:

    I do take of myself,it just that necessities come into play in my rountine. I am try to get our house clean and dishes done too. By taking care of myself,I should be relaxing,keeping clean and tending my needs over anything else. At times,Yes fiances and obligantions keep me from taking care of myself. Without without taking naps or sleeping late,I can do my best to maintain everything with taking my meds too.

  7. Hèlen says:

    @number 2 – I feel the same way. My children where always very busy; Now they see me resting all the time and they won’t go to the gym hardly. That really annoys me. I’m not on the couch for no reason. It is helpful to just express the way I feel. We tell when I feel okay and I tell when I’m not okay and sometimes this can change within 20 minutes. As for now I call myself a 50/50 chick because that’s the alternation between good and bad days. My first goal is to get from bad/good to good/bad and then heading for the 60/40.

    Sometimes I feel sad about the fact that people get disturbed when they find out you have a chronic condition. And most of the time you need to help them cope with it.

    @3 – I’ve learned that taking care of yourself is setting perfectionism aside. So my house is messy and I do the things that give me energy first. From being putting others first I’m more selfish now. The only way to keep my single household going is letting go of much. If I do voluntary work outside the house it costs me so much energy I don’t have enough to live healthy. Now that I took a break, I’m able to walk again. I go each morning and hope to keep that up at least for more than a month. That’s really ambitious. I fall and I get up endlessly trying (much on my own) and the hardest thing is you must learn to accept that their are hardly rewards at all. I’ve been exercising a week and I gained another kilo. Each year 8-10 kilo weight gain is not fun. And you have to tell this your doctors over and over again. Otherwise they simply forget about you.

    Something crucial I found out this month is that you can be malnourished even if you eat healthy because your body doesn’t take up all the ingredients. I live on diet products (shakes) and ad as much vegetable healthy food as possible. But even than I eat around 1000kcal or less.The symptoms have improved a lot. The only thing now is to create awareness that there is a difference between good nutritious blood levels and the actual nutritions the body gets in the cells. And it might be so that many other people have bad nutritious conditions too and that a vitamin pill is not the best solution to deal with it.

    One thing that helped me much was keeping a health diary. Because of that I could predict how my body reacts and see the correlations between one thing and another. And often I feel like educating the doctors because they find dealing with an out of balance person very difficult.

    @4 – When falling apart the most devastating experience was that nothing was the same anymore and that the values I grew up with where now actually working against me. So I watched the animals more closely how they deal with disabilities and what they do in their lives. And that helped me back to my natural nature. So I let go of the working drill, the fact that one has to work to be of worth etc. I even joined the basic income movement because of my disabilities I felt punished because of the medical guidelines. The effect of the chosen medical route meant that I became dependent on an allowance. And almost every effort that has something to do with work is punished by difficulties in the social system.The excessive power they pose on you; like you have to fight for your right to live a decent good life although you don’t belong anymore to the working force. I hate that attitude. This made me pretty much a social activist in the gentle way of the word. And it makes me feel free and better about a world that most of the times drop you when you can not compete with the idiotic up tempo. Why would I make myself crazy as it takes officials so much time to take any decision? I just tell them; if I organized my household like that and took care of my kids that way; we wouldn’t be around for long. There’s nothing wrong with trial and error.

    @5 I manage less. Each decision is in the now. And what feels right I do right away. The things that are urgent I have to find someone to help me. I can not de-chaotize myself; I can not switch on and off my memory loss. you have to work around these problems. It also means to let go of what others think of you. Because they tell you you look healthy they mistakenly saddle you up with too much. One moment you crawl in pain and the other moment you walk 50 minutes.

    Last but not least; I find this community very good and I regret that it is difficult to get such a vibrant community in Holland. It takes so much to get the noses in the same direction in normal life. The Internet community is so much more cooperating minded. It does so good to be able to join things. I started translating good video’s . No one ask me to prove my skills. No one makes a fuss that I make a lot of spelling faults and I have to have the spell checker on all the time; because I simply can’t figure out anymore in which order to put the characters. This collaboration attitude and possibilities are great in the healing process.

    And that takes me to @1 – I’ve learned to take care of myself. However I still feel very vulnerable on my own and somewhere deep down is a huge scar buried under my smile.

  8. Linda B Reed says:

    1. Do you know how to take care of yourself? I have learned more about this since I have had this disease; I guess that is at least one good thing that has happened along with all of the negative aspects. When I get that “feeling” of either complete fatigue or just needing a break from everything and everyone, I try to take that time whenever possible. When I do, I’m better for myself and for others.
    2. When you take care of yourself, do other things in your life fall to the wayside? Sometimes, but I try my best to take care of it all in due time. However, I’ve also learned that it is ok to ask for help when you need it!
    3. What is your definition of taking care of yourself? Listening to my body’s cues and doing what I can to respond to them in a way that makes me feel better for myself and others. I love to be with family and friends, but need (and sometimes crave!) alone time- time when I can do what I need/want to do without anyone “pulling on” me to do this, go there, fix this, cook that, etc.
    4. Do you feel that financial and ‘life’ obligations prohibit you from taking care of yourself the way you wish you could? Sometimes- we always want more than we have- that’s human nature. However, I know how blessed I am and try to make the best of my circumstances.
    5. How do you manage EVERYTHING? Sometimes, I just DON’T! Sometimes I have to delegate things and I’m trying to learn to do that more often when I’m having an “off” day and TRY not to feel guilty about it! I just get frustrated having to explain why I don’t feel like doing this today or why I don’t feel like being in a crowd/public most of the time. Those who don’t have this disease just don’t truly get it! Some try (and I appreciate the effort), but can’t really understand unless they experience it for themselves. That’s why this forum is so helpful to all of us! 🙂

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