This really helped about a week after diagnosis when I felt very bleak. And defeated as it became clearer to me that the crucial factor in getting through this is going to be my attitude. How to get there from here?
Serendipity sent an article on the Focus Wheel down my feed that day. And it pulled me out of the trough to where I could DO something. Then the kids came to stay, so I never blogged it. This post is taken from my journal notes at the time.
I did my wheel, not to attract fame or money, but to get from despair to a place where I could see what is good and right in my life. This may not be by the book, but is how I did it. I was lying flat on my back with pain, so I used a mind map program on my iPad to create my wheel.
First step, decide what you don't want. How negative, I thought, but knowing what you don't want clarifies what you DO.
I don't want: a sullen, victimized long illness.
I do want: a well-lived, joyful life.
Next list all the assets, things that lead towards that goal:
Mike, Thea, good kids, good friends, good doctors I trust, enough money, good diet, self-knowledge, what I have learned from pain. OK, but sound flat listed there. No life.
Then turn each into an affirmation, which will be believable because I have already recognized it as valid. Affirmations so often fail because your subconscious looks around for proof, doesn't find it and throws the statement out. Suppose I affirm I am a good skier and my subconscious only finds pictures of me flat on my face, this won't stick. It also helps to anchor each statement with our senses. So:
I have a strong and loving marriage – feel a hug, see his loving gaze.
Thea is warm and affectionate within cat limits – feel her curled against me, purring as we go to sleep.
Good kids – hear the sounds of their voices. “Hi, Mum!”
Good friends – bring my closest to mind, smiling. Again, hugs.
Now we are coming to assets rather than affirmations:
Good doctors I trust – my GP's warm smile, the earnest humanity of my hematologist. I trust their judgment. So different from dealing with back surgeons.
Enough money – we can afford the extras, like help. And we have universal healthcare.
We already eat well. No processed foods, sugar, alcohol, gluten or milk. Lots of vegs. No traumatic diet change and meals are a pleasure.
Self-knowledge – am accustomed to working on issues; I used to teach stress management and counsel. If I have to dig within, I understand the process.
What I have learned from pain – I never thought that would be an advantage! But I am used to managing my mood, avoiding negativity, living outside pain.
As I really FEEL these advantages, I'm aware of my mood expanding. Life feels more hopeful, positive. I have a spring board from which to ACT. And this mood lasted all evening.