Be Kind To One Another….and Yourself

At the end of each show, Ellen Degeneres tells her viewers to “be kind to one another”.  That’s kind of hard to do when you’re depressed and angry.  Basically, when I’m in my angry phase; angry that I’m chronically ill and mad that my old life is gone, it’s hard.  At best, I do well to just not be mean.  I tolerate people; not go out of my way to be kind.  Kind is too much to ask sometimes.

What’s Even Harder

What’s even harder to do is to be kind to myself.  When you feel nothing at all, literally nothing, nothing positive, or what you do feel is negative; it’s nearly impossible to be kind to yourself.  When you feel like a disappointment and a burden to your family and friends you feel worthless.  When all I could do was come up with negative words to describe myself why would I be kind to myself?

I once made a list of words to describe myself, and at the time I honestly couldn’t come up with a singe positive word.  Sad, depressed, sick, worthless, disappointment, burden, and tired where a few of the words I came up with.  I was sitting outside by a lake, a tranquil relaxing experience is what it should have been, but it turned into an eye opening experience.  I wasn’t doing well at all.  Not a single positive word came to mind and that made me feel even worse.  I felt nothing, or I felt negative.  I beat myself for the way I felt.  I beat myself up for not having the energy to do the things I wanted to do with my friends and family.  I beat myself up for my house not being as neat and tidy as it used to be.  I beat myself up because I couldn’t handle the stress of everyday life.  I beat myself up all of the time.  Beating myself up is exactly what I should not have been doing, it only proved to make my situation worse.  My brother often told me to stop beating myself up, and while I listened and said I would, I kept on doing it.

I no longer felt smart because I lost my train of thought and couldn’t remember what I was saying in the middle of saying it.  I couldn’t find the right words, I began using my hands and saying thingy a lot.  I was no longer funny because nothing amused me.  I was no longer happy, because I couldn’t find my joy.  I didn’t think I was a good friend because I was no longer fun to be around and I often just wanted to stay in the house and be alone.  I didn’t even want to talk to my friends on the phone.

Improvement

That day by the lake was a few years ago.  Although I am still depressed, I’ve improved.  Now the list of words to describe myself would include both positive and negative.  I am funny, sometimes.  I am a good mother (I do the best I can and my kids love me).  I am smart, when I can remember things. I am a good person to talk when you’re feeling down, because I listen and offer support, I know that’s what you need when your down because I know how it feels.  As I’m writing this I am realizing my positives come with a condition.  I guess I have more work to do.

I still beat myself up, but not nearly as much as I used to.  I spend much of my time in the bed watching TV.  I used to feel bad about this, but now I accept it because I often have no choice.  If I don’t rest during the day I am in more pain and sluggish when my kids get home from school.  So, I’ve come to enjoy the TV watching and think of it as being entertained rather than being a couch potato.  I started this blog to give myself something “productive” to do while I am in the bed.  When I do get up and do things I stop before I get tired so I don ‘t trigger a flare.  I don’t go until I can’t go anymore even though it’s very tempting.  The more tired I am, the more depressed I am, and the more anxiety I feel.

Me resting is my being kind to myself.  Being kind to myself allows me to be kind to others.  When I take care of myself it’s much easier to take care of my kids.  When I’m kind to them, they are kind to me.  Sometimes being kind is hard, being kind is worth it.  Try being kind to yourself, even when you don’t feel like it.  You just might find that you feel a little better.

Are you kind to yourself?  In what ways?  I’d love to hear what you do in an effort to be kind to yourself.  Hey, I might be able to incorporate your methods into my life.

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6 thoughts on “Be Kind To One Another….and Yourself

  1. I feel your struggle. Part of what I’ve been working on in therapy is figuring out why I can be kind and empathetic to others, but not to myself. So far, no easy answer…which I had a magic wand that would help us both!

  2. When you’re chronically ill it is often so hard to be kind to yourself and so easy to project your own frustrations and negative feelings onto other people. I often feel that I must be a burden and dissappointment to friends and family and generally a total failure in life. It is hard to accept that my friends and family don’t really see me that way. They value me as much for who I am as what I am able to do but it is very hard to feel the same way about yourself in a society that decides our worth according to our abilities and achievements.

    • So well said! It’s hard to see myself as my family sees them. They say I am not a disappointment or a burden even though I often feel that way. I was “supposed” to be successful with a great job, not chronically ill on disability. Hard to accept.

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