Life right now feels like I’m on some kind of crazy hamster wheel and I can’t get off. I’m completely fixated on what I need to do and where I need to be, going full pelt in the hope that I get there a lot quicker. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. I need to accept that these things take time and that I can’t just sprint to the finish line breaking all records. (That’s my competitive side coming out).
Cutting myself some slack and taking my foot off the pedal is the first thing I need to do, but that’s easier said than done. I have created an agenda in my head about what I should be doing and a time frame in which I should do it, which is simply: “Do it! Whatever it takes, do it now and don’t stop until it’s over”.
The problem is that ever since this all started I have had places in the world in which I feel safe, and things which I do that make me feel like I still somehow have some control over what is happening to me. These are my safety bubbles. Anything outside of those bubbles can be either too much to deal with, simply not productive in my view or just plain scary.
Things are most definitely getting easier though and my safety bubbles are growing and merging all the time. There was a time when the hospital and my home were the only bubbles I had. Then I discovered the cancer support centre and that became a bubble. It took a while for the office to be added to the list but it’s there now.
The key I’ve found, is to take baby steps out of my comfort zone in to an area that will challenge and stretch me, whilst trying to remember to not do too much, too soon (not easy if you’re as impatient as I am). If at any time what I’m doing feels really uncomfortable and I start to panic, I know I’ve gone too far and need to take a couple of steps back.
Setting small goals is a great place to start. My goal is quite simply to cut myself some slack for 1 hour twice a week. To take the time to relax, go for a walk, read a book, spend time with friends – whatever it is I need to do to, to switch off from everything I think and feel I should be doing.
I used the following diagram to plot how balanced my life is right now. Grading each area from 0-10, 10 being the best it can be. Then joining up the dots to see where I needed to focus.
Here is my chart. The green area is where I was pre-diagnosys. The red is where I am now.