The Pity Party

When having to deal with any sort of illness, it is possible to experience the ‘woe is me’ factor. We get to feeling sorry for ourselves so often that we start to think of ourselves as a victim. While completely natural and common, this really isn’t the mindset we are looking for when it comes to managing our illness. While I think I knew all this (amazing all the stuff we THINK we know), I was completely caught off guard when my therapist told me that if I could just let go of the thought that I was a victim, I might be on my way towards a much brighter tomorrow. Well, honestly, I was pissed. Me? A victim? Feeling sorry for myself? Certainly, not me.

Victim thought process

After I left the office, I realized that the statement hurt because it was true, which happens quite a lot I’d say. After thinking it over, I also realized that the therapist was not telling me that I was a victim or sad or pitiful or any of those things. She was saying that I THOUGHT of myself as these things. The thoughts were so constant and ingrained that I began to believe I WAS a victim. The fact of the matter was that it was my thought process and not ME. The thought process was damaging enough without the believing part. I went back for my next appointment and admitted what I had learned. The therapist was very pleased that I made these connections and asked me what I thought I could do for myself. While there is really no one answer for all of us, I began to think about what could be done to help myself manage my mental health and my various physical problems (IBS included). I had enough of living at the the “Pity Party.”

How to change the thought process?

The first thing that came to mind was to define the opposite of ‘victim.’ This did not work 🙂 I did not wish to be a culprit, predator, offender or criminal. Let’s try this again…the opposite of PITIFUL. Well, this worked much better. Words like hopeful, grateful, significant and happy started to jump out at me. Had I been feeling hopeful? No, I had not. But, how to change the thought process to one of hope and gratitude, significance and happiness? Easier said than done, but as with all things; absolutely possible.

I began to think about why I thought I was a victim and that maybe people should feel sorry for me. When did this start? I think when I started to feel as though my illness(s) were taking over my life and that I had lost control. I felt overwhelmed and that I would not be able to manage. I expected my life to be different than it was and I was disappointed. Hence, the pity party. I don’t think anyone wants to feel sorry for themselves. It is universally accepted that this does no good. By using daily positive affirmations, enjoying small successes and practicing being hopeful, grateful and all the other things you WANT to be, in time the pity loop will become something different and better. Now say it with me…I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it…

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