Negative self-talk is interesting because it’s so easy to engage in…. or is that just me? I was doing a meditation this morning through the Calm app that had an introduction about negative self-talk. The truth is, whether we want to admit it or not, most of us do engage in it from time-to-time, just some people more than others. The ultimate goal would be to never engage in it at all, but that can be difficult. It almost seems like its human nature to be hard on ourselves. Something doesn’t go our way, well we must be dumb. Slight feeling of inadequacy, then no one likes me. Pain surging throughout our bodies, I guess I deserve it.
Disengaging from this sort of talk is extremely difficult. At least for me. Mindfulness practice is actually the most helpful thing I’ve found to combat this. Realizing when I’m doing it, so that I can sway my thoughts elsewhere is a positive skill I’ve learned. Because the truth is, I’m not dumb or deserving, and I’m fairly certain that at least some people like me.
Another way to combat your negative self-talk is to listen to stories of others. Whether it be reading blogs like this, or everyone’s current favourite – listening to podcasts, hearing that other people are having these same habits your are and finding out what they’ve done to try to stop can be positive. Psychoeducation has its benefits.
When in doubt, there is also psychotherapy too. I know it’s expensive. Literally everyone I recommend it to comes back with that. Even in Canada it isn’t covered by our “universal” (not so universal) healthcare or by most company plans either. My company boasts about how great healthcare coverage it has but only $500 worth of psychologist or psychoanalyst visits are covered by our plans (at $200/hour that’s 2.5 sessions) per year for full timers (sorry part-timers, no coverage), and most people need more than that to achieve positive mental health.
But let me digress. Even if you can’t afford therapy, using mindfulness apps, and positive reinforcement for positive thoughts (hey I haven’t had negative self-talk all week so I deserve a piece of cake, jk, maybe that’s not the best reward) can be helpful in, at least, decreasing it. At the end of the day, most of those thoughts are lies we buy into, and why should we when we’re so much more awesome than that?!
Yes, I had lava cake last night
I’m not sure why but the pain in my left hip and leg has been worse, much worse than usual, the past week or so. It’s made me step back again and try to figure out what I can do to help, maybe not get rid of it because that’s a bit hopeful, but decrease it. The obvious solution of stay home and rest may not really work because the pain is the same whether I sit, stand, or walk. Unless I’m lying flat on my back, there’s not much to give relief. However, I have found a few things that temporarily relieve it. Some old tricks of the trade to review.
Massage: I made my RMT focus on my leg during my bimonthly massage on Monday. I love massages from her in general. Though the effects didn’t last as long as I had hoped, the relief from the muscle pain (I’m experiencing muscle and nerve pain in that area) was greatly appreciated. Too bad my benefits had run out. But it was worth paying full price regardless.
Heat: Always a go-to for me because I find it helps most of the time for muscle and nerve pain. I’ve been using my heating pad quite frequently at home, and regular baths as well. though between the two, the heating pad is probably the most helpful, until I’m sweaty and too hot that is.
Sleep: It can be hard to get a good night rest, especially when you’re in pain, but I find that the better sleep I get, the less pain I have. Coincidence? I think not.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Though many different meditative/mindfulness activities are likely to help, I like this one because the point is to get your body to relax. And pain also temporarily disappears during it.
Marijuana: The medical kind, of course. The cannabinoid receptors in our bodies are there for a reason so we might as well use them. It’s known for pain relief and it works. However, I’ve found that the amount of CBD I’d need at the moment is a lot more than having something with THC in it. I was using 3 ml of CBD a day and it wasn’t helping but a few mg of THC product helps a lot (days off or night times only!)
We are not at the mercy of our bodies because we can do things to help ourselves. It may not be a cure, and it may not be forever, but any temporary relief we can give ourselves is good for ourselves.
Stanley Park, living my best life.
Today I wanted to discuss the Netflix docuseries, “Diagnosis,” that I recently watched (okay, binge-watched because who does anything anyway else anymore?). For those of you who haven’t watched the show yet, it follows Dr. Lisa Sanders as she attempts to help different people in the US figure out their undiagnosed medical conditions. When we say undiagnosed conditions, it’s on the side of “mysteries” or rare conditions that are not easily diagnosable. She uses Social Media to engage people from around the globe in attempting to solve these mysteries and help the doctors of these patients, as well as the patients themselves, get a diagnosis. What struck me about the show is the two major themes it uncovered (whether intentionally or not).
Theme 1: The feeling of hopelessness when you don’t have a diagnosis.
Some conditions are easy to diagnosis. Even serious illnesses, if they are common enough, or specific tests have been developed, and GPs know what specialists to refer you to, can be diagnosed without long wait times. Other illnesses, things like autoimmune diseases which mimic each other, or very rare ones, can take a lot longer. Everyone who has had to wait knows what I’m talking about when I talk about the feeling of hopelessness that accompanies the waiting. Will I ever get a diagnosis? What is wrong with me? How can it be fixed if we don’t know what it is? Even my diagnosis of lupus is only tentative. The doctors don’t have a better explanation for my symptoms, but at the same time I don’t have enough symptoms for a confirmed diagnosis. Though I definitely feel less in limbo than most of the people on this show, I definitely understand the emotional toll it can take on a person. It’s hard to wrestle with, and in this case, hard to watch, as you are rooting for a diagnosis, regardless of what it is, because at least then they can go from there.
Theme 2: mistrust of the medical system.
Two episodes in particular emphasized the mistrust of doctors. Mistrust can come from a variety of sources. Misdiagnosis is easily one that can garner mistrust. I trust GPs much less after my previous one told me there is no way I could have lupus and instead must have gout. To which my rheumatologist ended up saying it was impossible that I had gout, and much more likely that I had lupus. In Episode 5 of the show, a 17-year-old girl and her parents have such mistrust of doctors based on one or two bad interactions that they dismiss a likely diagnosis because they have their own theories (none of which can be corroborated by science). In Episode 7, a woman has difficulty trusting doctors because she feels dismissed as a Black woman. Woman have historically been treated differently than men when it comes to medical concerns, and African Americans have been treated differently than European Americans, so it is easy to understand where she is coming from (in the end she is much more trusting than the patient from Episode 5).
Image from: YouTube (see link above)
Overall, I found the show interesting and would definitely watch another season if they were to do one. Most people will never find themselves in the position that these people are in, but most of us also will face some kind of serious or chronic illness in our lifetimes so we should all be able to empathize with each other’s unique situations.