Getting Past the 'Oh, Poor Me' Days
Life is not easy when living with a chronic illness like COPD. It starts out with mild symptoms that are easily ignored. A little shortness of breath, increased mucus production, and an inability to exercise that we find hard to take seriously. These tell tale signs of the disease are subtle enough but strong at the same time.
The importance of respect
The onset of COPD is often slow and progressive. It creeps up on you and in the end, it threatens to take away most of life’s pleasures. Through the natural progression of aging, our bodies are losing some of their ability to bounce back.
The ignorance and opinions of others, including health care professionals, have a big influence on how well we manage our COPD. What happens when there is no understanding, or we have a health care provider that says you got what you deserved? Or when little in the way of medical help is offered and you are left with the guilt of knowing that you are embarking on the long road of your own demise?
When we are told that this is not our fault and that we are understood, things will go progressively better. When we are offered respiratory rehab and treated with dignity and respect, we develop a healthier mindset. We are more apt to do the much-needed exercise that is available, and it is easier for us to accept our fate.
We must all battle against the demons of our own making. We do not need validation from anyone, even a doctor with no compassion. We do not need anyone but ourselves and the strength of our minds to get through our journey.
Awareness is control
Awareness is control. Knowledge gained helps us be conscious of what is happening. Most of us now realize what the symptoms are and how important early detection is. Arming ourselves with information from reliable sources like our local lung associations helps us to understand the best way to help ourselves.
Joining an online support group is beneficial for most of us. This is a safe place where we can vent and be heard from a group that understands and encourages us. We learn the proper way to push ourselves in an encouraging, inclusive environment. We also learn about nutrition and keeping positive energy around us.
Finding daily gratitude can also help us get past the ‘oh, poor me days.’ Once we embrace gratitude, we are more satisfied with life. It reduces stress, makes us more motivated to get the necessary tasks completed, and allows us to get better sleep at night because we develop a stronger feeling and sense of purpose.
Never let anyone tell you what you need or hurry you along. Always be willing to advocate for yourself. Know your limitations and when you have had enough.
Having COPD is hard enough without giving into the ‘oh, poor me days’ but some days are harder than others.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?