Female looking at herself in a mirror with a heart behind her.

New Diagnosis Feelings - Support yourself!

I sent the following message to a friend one night and recently re-read what I wrote, as it was hanging out in my "Notes" tab. I quickly realized it was a much-needed sign that I actually needed to re-read that message and apply it to my own life.

Lack of self-empathy

"All you’ve gone through lately with misdiagnoses and then correct diagnosis has just been slow to come together, but because of this, something good will come to you. You deserve it."

Helping a friend with a new and serious diagnosis was eye-opening, especially after reading what I had sent to her a few months after we had talked. I realized that I'm sometimes too hard on myself, especially since I've only been dealing with my diagnosis for a few years.

Re-reading that note I sent my friend made me think "Am I doing this for myself? Am I showing her a good example by doing the things I suggested to her and following through on my promises and goals to myself?" That answer was likely a "No."

Re-organizing life and prioritizing self-care

It was time for me to sit down and write down ideas on how I could re-organize my life and get things back on track, for myself. I began with my bullet journal/planner. I've always invested in them, but halfway through the year it would get too cluttered, fall apart and thus, my goals would too.

So, I went to stores, looked online and finally found one that would be perfect for me. A simple, calendar and planner, that would allow me to write in weekly and daily goals if I chose to. My friend, I mentioned above did the same thing. Because we have both been going through some very significant medical struggles making it hard to follow through on most things, we thought up an idea that would be very beneficial for our mental state, our self-care and keeping ourselves accountable.

But most of all, when we weren't able to, we promised we wouldn't feel guilty, we would just alter our weekly goal so that it would be something we could attain.

Setting attainable goals

On the side of each month, in the Notes section, I gave myself a weekly goal - one that I was excited to do, one that I needed to absolutely complete and one fun goal, if my body was up to it. Some of these weekly goals were: Save $100 from dog-walking and put into your savings jar, Redecorate upstairs, No eating after 7pm, Go for a walk around the block. I kept my goals vague for this article, but try to be as creative as you can. When I've been really ill, one of my goals was "Go to the grocery store and buy Gatorade". Seems dramatic, but it really helped me when I was struggling with migraines and other illness to just get out, get fresh air and walk a little bit to get my blow flow going.

Other small goals aren't fun, but let's face it, they have to be done. Some of those include: Call Neurologist and schedule nerve blocks, Find a new GI, Write for 5 hours on X day. But once you've accomplished those goals, you start to really feel successful day by day and look forward to your next one.

Celebrating small wins

My point is, goals don't always have to be so monumental. New Year's is a time where a lot of people have a deep feeling of guilt and regret for not following what their "resolution" was the previous year. Do yourself a favor and make your goals attainable, reachable, and most importantly, fun and rewarding. So when the bad days come along, you don't feel guilty for having to push back a deadline you made for yourself the week before. Alter your goals if you need to. Change your mind about it? Change the goal.

Being gentle on ourselves

Don't be too hard on yourself. Journaling and planning are great ways to hold and keep yourself accountable all year long vs. just the first 3 months of the year and forget about what it was you wanted to do this year. Take life minute by minute - you're affected by things that some will never understand. They certainly might not understand that going out to the grocery store is a goal (and a hefty one at times) that your body cannot do all the time!

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