How Do We Do the Hard Things?
Coping with our COPD lives can be difficult and takes our energy, as well as saps our strength. Fatigue for some is draining. Some COPDers who are in early and moderate stages might not experience those things yet. Yet all might be aware of the struggles.
Then life hits
Someone may have passed away, or someone else is getting a divorce. A grandchild may be missing. The COPDer is facing an exacerbation and ends up in the hospital. Your husband lost his job. Your mom has cancer, maybe you have cancer. How do we do this? How do we do the hard things?
I realize that these will not affect everyone and maybe not you. Maybe this hits 3 other people that read this. It can be so overwhelming, what do we do now?
Breathe in 1-2-3, out slowly 1-2-3-4. Do this until your breathing is controlled. This is your pursed-lip breathing. Use your inhaler if needed too. Are you the kind of person who needs to have some alone time and absorb all of this? If so, do that. It helps to journal your feelings as well. If you are a person who finds it best to talk with someone, do that. Are you up to calling a friend or a therapist? How about your online support group?
About now, you will realize that others are affected by this too.
You are not alone
Somehow you might find that others are wanting and needing your help and attention. Talk and share, that’s a good start. How are you doing when you are alone again? Remember to breathe in 1-2-3 out slowly 1-2-3-4.
When it seems that you do not feel like exercising or watching your diet, is the most important time to do so. You might feel like life is closing in on you. Breathe, then get busy living. It seems that often we are on the defense with our bodies, for example: we are having an off day, that’s the time to fight these things that are giving us bad feelings or affecting our health. It’s much healthier to get on the offensive. It’s better to care for our lives while we are in charge. We will stay in charge unless we give our lives to someone else.
Being on the offense gives us an opportunity to feel strong enough to stand up to ourselves and to face whatever comes our way. Maybe we can feel strong enough to reach out to others, who are struggling as well.
It may take time
Just like when you found out you had COPD, you are learning how to live with that and that you can cope. Life is always changing and it’s sometimes difficult to cope with our changing lives and changing world. We will continue to put one foot in front of the other. We will take baby steps if we must. We know too, that we have a support system when we are ready.
How do we do the hard things? One day at a time, one moment at a time, one foot in front of the other and with our support system if needed. Throughout everything remember, breathe.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?