Posted in Fibromyaloga, pity party, rheumatoid arthritis

Self-Pity is Optional or Mandatory


Sometimes you feel like a fly who has just hit a windshield and sometimes you are the windshield. While you would like to always be the windshield, living with chronic pain makes it more difficult. So many of us living with chronic pain think we should always walk around with our chin held high regardless of how much it hurts to hold it up that high. Pity parties are optional or mandatory, whatever your preference. I can just see the Boards of Psychology and Psychiatry shaking their heads in disagreement in response to this last sentence. Unless they live with chronic pain, they have no idea what the emotions of a person living with chronic pain are.

I am generally a pretty tough and upbeat person. However, there are times where RA and FMS gang up on me and turn me into a blubbering mess. How do I respond on those occasions? Sometimes, I will take the stiff-upper lip approach and keep moving and other times, I have a pity party. I go through the “why me?” and “haven’t I been through enough?” routine more often than I would like to. I am not proud of it, but it is part of living with chronic pain. What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, I say.

The secret to self-pity is not to let it consume you. Self-pity has taught me to be stronger and to feel sorry for myself less. Life won’t stop simply because I don’t feel well so I don’t always have time for pity parties. The longer I live with RA and FMS, the less pity parties I seem to have. The secret is to look for strength – at least that is my secret. Some nights, it is hard for me to fall asleep because of the pain but regardless, I still have to get up every morning and resume my life – as a mother, a wife, an employee and all the roles I play every day. I push aside the self-pity part of it, and pray or find some other way to preoccupy myself like listen to music until the sleep consumes me. The point is, I find some other way to deal with the pain instead of self-pity because self-pity only makes me feel worse.

Usually, self-pity finds me when I am extremely exhausted. However, the “why me?” and “what did I do to deserve this?” routine is exhausting just the same. So, go ahead and feel sorry for yourself if you need to but don’t let it become a pattern. For me, I know when it is coming and I have taught myself that is has to be short and brief.

Here is what I do when I feel my pity-party coming on:

1. I tell myself it is zero tolerance time and I shut self-pity out.

2. I find something else to do to get my mind off the recent pity party.

3. I think about all my blessings and I remind myself that it is not about me. It is about those I love. 

Go ahead and throw your pity party if you need to, but hurry up and get it over with.

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3 thoughts on “Self-Pity is Optional or Mandatory

  1. Thank you for writing this post. I'm all about the stiff upper lip approach. As you know, from my blog, I rarely mention or dwell on the RA. When I DO blog about it, you can bet I'm in a lot of pain, and ignoring it at that time is impossible.We all need down time for a pity party. Just so we don't stay there too long.

  2. As Dee says, I dont mention it much because I tend to focus on other things but also to be honest because i don't thing others understand. However, I do like to read about other people's experiences and feelings, like your post, they often match my own and are a comfort. The sentiments in this post are what underpin my blog title.

  3. You are so right about they have no idea about what emotions that we live with. I like to think that I hold my chin up high and keep on going, but somedays it just hurts too bad to worry about what other people think. "What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, I say. " I agree and have said this before but, we all ought to be getting pretty strong by now.

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