Thursday, September 14, 2006

balancing acceptance & hope

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How does one come to a point where it is possible to accept your life exactly the way it is and also hold hope that it could be better someday? It clicks with me when I'm told that the ideal is to hold hope in one hand and acceptance in the other. But what the heck do you do to start moving in that direction?

It makes sense to me intellectually to stop fighting against migraine disease. Not stop trying, but stop the struggle. But somewhere between cognizance of the fact that this makes perfect sense and putting the attitude into action, my brain veers way off course.

I'm a stubborn, determined person. I usually achieve what I set out to, not to toot my own horn or anything. But chronic migraines aren't like law school - no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I want to be well, no matter how determined I am to push myself past my limits and not give in, it isn't helping. This Epic Battle approach isn't doing me a bit of good. I've got to find a way to submit that doesn't squash my remaining bit of hope and enthusiasm that we'll find something that helps me.

I find that I'm getting hung up on little things. For instance, my parents are always telling me that I've got to keep a positive attitude. I never again want to hear the phrase "positive attitude" as long as my creaky, broken-down ass lives. It bugs the shit out of me. After I supress the urge to ask when I ever had this "positive attitude" in the first place, my first reaction is always to think or say, but what if I never get better? Don't I have to accept that possibility? I can't afford to be a Pollyanna about this.

I'm spending time re-reading a book I highly recommend, A Delicate Balance: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness by Susan Milstrey Wells. I got a lot out of it the first time, but to put the balance into practice, I think I need to give myself another chance to take in her thoughts.

Some relevant links for further reading:
* Coping with Chronic Illness
* The Not-So-Gentle Art of Acceptance
* Acceptance

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