Control what you can


I’d imagine it’s the same for anyone dealing with a disease that there’s a feeling as though what’s happening to you is completely out of your control. I used to feel this way all the time. But over the years that feeling has diminished because I found ways to regain control, or at least the illusion of control, over my disorder. Sometimes it’s direct control, other times it’s control over something else. Here are a few suggestions on how to control what you can about your life and your disorder.

1. Decide to optimize what you have

It dawned on me one day that although my arms and legs are overall much weaker than normal, they still functioned. I could still exercise them and keep them moving. Most of the time your muscles are not working at their maximum potential. Getting them up to that maximum potential every now and then felt good. Whether you have a favorite set of exercises, or a sport, or go to physical therapy, there are ways to optimize what you have. The same is true for other areas of your life — your brain, your relationships, and of course your time. Deciding to push yourself and exercise whatever it is you want to optimize can help you feel as though you are optimizing your control.

2. Get on top of your health

Similar to #1, getting on top of your health is important. If you go in for regular checkups and tests can give you the knowledge about your situation that essentially makes you an “expert” on your own health. Feeling as though you are an expert about something can help you feel much more in control. If you have a good doctor, who cares, then it’s almost as if you’ve got yourself a team that’s completely aware of what is and what should be going on.

3. Schedule in some enjoyable activities

I’ve met many people who find it easy to play the victim. I’ve noticed with these people that they actually have very few, if any interests or hobbies outside of complaining to whoever will listen. Deciding to pursue your own interests is essentially a decision to spend your time in an enjoyable manner. Controlling your time this way can go a long way in contributing to your overall perception of control.

4. Plan something. ANYTHING.

I love to plan trips. I enjoy everything from wondering about where to go to finding a great deal on plane tickets to finding interesting places to stay. In doing this, I grab complete control of the trip and that moment in time. I have found that this shift towards taking the initiative can do wonders towards my overall sense of control. But you don’t have to plan a big trip. Planning a night out, a party, or a small get together can be just as effective. If you are in charge of planning something, then you are in control.

Controlling what you can, even if it’s not directly associated with your disease, can go a long way in perking you up and enhancing your overall feeling of well being. It’s important to know that I’m not suggesting you become so controlling that you start controlling people or situations in a negative way. Those things can lead to long term problems. But grabbing the reigns on your own life and your own decisions will have a strong impact on your life.

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