Narcolepsy and Personal Development
I believe that in order to learn how to manage, heal or come to terms with a serious long-term illness there has to be an element of personal development involved. Keep motivated by rewarding successes and remember to be kind to yourself if you forget to keep to a plan – just pick yourself up and do it again. Don’t try! Just do it! Believe you can, even if it feels awkward in the beginning after a while you get used to believing that you can change, you know it! From a personal perspective, a year ago I realised that I had three choices:
A: Continue as I had before, ignoring the fact that I had a serious health problem that needed addressing. The Denial Approach creates a lot of personal issues and difficulties communicating with others. I had already tried and lived this approach for 15 years while I was undiagnosed. It created a total confusing self-image and misconstrued worldview.
B: Wallow in self-pity and indulge in negative addictive behaviour. This is probably the worst approach you can take, not only does it make you unhappy and bitter – it will kill you the quickest and you will have a miserable time too. A lot of people feed off and communicate negativity – eliminate it from your life! You are worth so much more! I had a period after I was diagnosed and I was trying medications that did not work effectively, it gave me horrible side effects both psychologically and physically. It wore me down and I was susceptible to the negative approach. I did not even realise it at the time but I ignored all the things in life that I wanted to do and socialised with friends who had a negative and competitive rather than a supportive mindset. Socially, I consumed too much alcohol and smoked cigarettes. I am too sensitive even without narcolepsy to cope with this type of lifestyle. In retrospect, I think I just wanted to feel less/numb the pain, and to disappear because then I would not have to take responsibility for my health and life. It’s The Victim Approach. I had turned self-management into a mountain and I told myself that I would never be able to climb to the top. It was part of the period when many ponders: why me? It’s not fair!
Approach C: Take Responsibility for your Health and Happiness Approach. It’s the most challenging and most rewarding. One small step at a time will lead to greater contentment and enjoyment in life. Once you start you will get addicted to the progress and you will start feeling a great sense of achievement. Well, I had nothing to loose. I had already tried A and B so the only option I had left was C.
Be prepared to keep an open mind and let go of old tried and failed ways of living and remember that every time you let go of negativity you invite and make room for something new to enter your life. Trust your intuition and listen to your feelings if you are ever in doubt weather to keep something/someone or let go. It is a continuous process and once you have climbed the first mountain and you stand on the summit with a great sense of achievement you will start to see many more mountains to climb. You know you can do it and you are curious and excited by the prospect of learning new skills, getting stronger and making new friendships along the way.