Sunday, January 30, 2011


Seven years ago when I found myself stranded in Stockholm, Sweden because I was in extreme pain and unable to move I knew that I had a serious problem.  It had been building for years and I’ve had plenty of episodes like this before but I knew this time it was very different.  Mainly because of the trip. I knew exactly what I had been doing and could not find an action on my part that could account for the state I was in.  In other words I had run out of excuses for this being just a strained muscle!

When I got home, I went to the doctor already knowing that I was going to be diagnosed with a progressive disease.  What I didn’t expect was I’d end up being diagnosed with four!

From the day I got back from Stockholm I was using two walking sticks to walk.  Then I acquiesced a little and we bought a manual wheelchair.  I did consider at the time an electric one but electric wheelchairs were really for handicapped people not  me! As my disease progressed I bought an electric wheelchair because I could no longer use the top half of me to manoeuvre the manual wheelchair and I cannot abide being pushed around.

I have never had any trouble in accepting the situation regarding my health.  I had already come to terms with it by the time I had got back from Sweden.  I determined then that there was no point in even thinking about this, feeling sorry for myself or building some faint hope that I would get well.  No!  I knew my situation and I accepted it.

However what I have only just recently realised is that acceptance needs to be deeper.

I have struggled for a long time over my swimming regime and holidays.  By this I mean I have forced myself to swim even when I am exhausted and I have planned driving holidays which have left me ill and exhausted.

I always have this inner argument going on with myself about being weak and lazy and not giving in.  Some very perceptive soul told me I need to start listening to my inner self and stop listening to my inner father!

During yesterday’s swim, it came to me that although I accept my diagnoses and that I will not get well and that my disease will progress, I have NOT accepted the limitations it causes.

This has been the struggle.

Yesterday afternoon when I swam I did swim less laps than I did on Thursday but just like Friday I have awoken feeling sore and weak and tired.  Not as bad as I did on Friday because I did less laps yesterday. I assume.

I now realise that I must work within my limitations because not doing so is making my health problems worse.  Particularly with regard to my weight.  The worse I feel the more likely I am to indulge in comfort food.

I will continue to swim.  It is important for my health and it does help keep me more mobile.  What I need to do is cut down the amount of laps I do even if I feel well enough to do more.   I also need to figure out if cutting down the amount of laps I do will enable me to swim every day which I would prefer, or will I have to cut down the amount of laps AND swim only on alternate days.

The answer to the above I do not yet know the but at least I know what I need to do now.

I also came to the decision this week but I will not be accepting invitations to demonstrate and speak too far from my home.  It wipes me out.

I will of course continue to show my dogs. There is no way that I am willing to stop that and there is no need for me to.  I have to accept though that for the two days after a dog show I need to rest and no excuses.

It never ceases to amaze me how much we are driven by our subconscious. it also continually confirms to me that what I teach is accurate: how we think is of the utmost importance because it is how we think that dictates the quality of our life and that the quality of our life can be improved vastly by paying attention to what we think and altering what is necessary.


Lol said...

Thanks for this Colin, I can't tell you how timely your words are for me. I have just started the process of getting to grips with a life of periodic binge eating, was in fact downloading a couple of Geneen Roth audio books as I read your post, hopefully inspiration to listen to whilst doing a daily walk.

You absolutely nailed it: "how we think is of the utmost importance because it is how we think that dictates the quality of our life and that the quality of our life can be improved vastly by paying attention to what we think and altering what is necessary."

I'm at the stage where I can see that my thinking is distorted, that I use food to comfort and also to sabotage myself – the inner Mummy voice is the killer and the older I get the more that is becoming literally true.

I read your blog for lots of reasons – you entertain, you teach and you inspire and today you have given me a big nudge towards what I have to do in order to sort out my distorted thinking. Thank you x

Iris said...

Like you, I have always felt guilty if I haven't performed up to the standards I have set for myself, even when I was ill or, now, that I'm getting older. I think I should still perform at a 40 year old level and that's just not going to happen. I made the comment the other day that "I have to do something to pay for myself." Jim looked at me and said, "Now, why is that? There aren't any quotas here." He's come a long way. Maybe I need to pay attention.

Deb said...

This has been a very insightful post. I have yet to come to terms with all the recent changes in my life. I suppose that I'll be at more peace when I do accept the things that I can't change.

You've given me a lot to think about.

Denise said...

Colin have you ever looked into water aerobics or maybe just a pool therapy type of thing? I would think just moving your muscles but not putting a lot of strain on them would make you feel better. The water aerobics might be too stressful but maybe the pool therapy would be good and not so draining on you afterwards. Just a thought. Sometimes you have to change the way you do the exercises cause your body gets used to a certain way you do things.