Overcoming Setbacks and Difficult Days

There is only one thing I know with absolute certainty; nothing stays the same forever. Change is the constant we can always rely on. It’s a good thing too. Without change we would lack the perspective to understand good and bad; our experiences would simply be indifferent.

We can only ever truly appreciate a beautiful experience by first knowing hardship, and what it means to suffer. Understanding is found in the contrast.

With a condition as unpredictable as Meniere’s disease, change can come as a wave of relief or a flood of hardship. If you happen to have gained some control over your symptoms, change can be an unwelcomed visitor.

There is nothing more frustrating than facing a setback after making progress in your treatment and recovery. It can rob you of precious hope and leave you feeling crushed. It doesn’t have to be this way. No matter how dark the hole you find yourself in, you still have the power to make choices.

“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher)

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principal. Somethings are within your control. And some things are not.” – Epictetus (Greek Stoic Philosopher)

Sometimes the best choice is to simply interpret your situation differently. The great Stoic philosophers believed that events themselves were inherently meaningless. That it’s the story we tell ourselves afterwards about what the event means that categorizes it as “good” or “bad”. This resonates deeply with me.

For me, setbacks come in all shapes and sizes. The most current iteration has come in form of the beloved influenza virus.

After a lovely weekend with my extended family to celebrate my grandfather’s 80th birthday, I awoke Sunday morning to full body aches, sweats, fever, and of course, dizziness. I have not had a full blown vertigo episode, however my equilibrium has been in disarray for nearly a week. My tinnitus has been cranked up to 11 and the pressure in my ears is relentless.

I’ve been extremely restless this past week. I haven’t been able to work or meet any of my responsibilities and it’s left me feeling guilty. Though a week spent in bed has given me a lot of time to reflect. When you are suffering, whether from Meniere’s disease or otherwise, it can be hard to see anything but pain. I realized something this morning.

Sometimes, simply acknowledging the pain can be enough:

  • Give yourself permission to not feel well.
  • Give yourself permission to have a bad day.
  • Give yourself permission to rest, and let your body heal.

It’s a subtle shift in perspective but it can make all the difference. Everyone will experience setbacks at one point or another and the better you can roll with the punches the quicker you will bounce back, every time. If your body needs to heal, let it heal. Feed it the things it needs to become whole. Let yourself rest knowing that when this setback inevitably passes you will truly appreciate the good days that follow.

There is never shame in being sick and no matter how bad things may seem you will make progress again. There is so much hope. Meniere’s disease cannot and will not ever be bigger than your dreams.

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