Yes, you read that correctly and no, I’m not joking. I never used to have any sympathy for people who felt sorry for themselves, I’d think they were weak and trying to get attention. Since becoming ill however, I’ve found myself feeling just this way on a number of occasions and I know how that sounds after my previous statement, but bare with me.
I think most people could relate to having one opinion of something they haven’t gone through and then changing that opinion when they do experience it. I was exactly the same with depression, didn’t think I was the kind of person to get it, I was fun, bubbly, life of the party; nevertheless, it got me and it got me good and 16 years on, I still battle with it on a daily basis. However, I don’t want to harp on about that, it’s for another day, today I want to explain why I feel it is ok to feel sorry for yourself.
The title might imply that I’m stating you can wallow in self pity continually; but no, that is not what I’m saying.
When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I sank into a pit of self pity; poor me, my life was over, it was pointless, it really would be better for everyone if I wasn’t around anymore (life insurance for family), but it isn’t a terminal illness (other than the high rates of suicide connected to it, but insurance won’t pay out if I did that). Friends would maybe visit once a week (as in 1 person per week), but that soon stopped, so I was at home staring at 4 walls on a daily basis, not able to mobilise much, not able to cook or clean or walk to the shops or even walk the dog! I really self indulged in pity.
I eventually decided that I needed to do something to occupy my time whilst sitting down all day, I’d watched all the box sets that interested me (and even some that didn’t!). So, I decided to learn to crochet and I learnt quickly (amazing what you can do when you are bored)
I loved creating again, I used to make jewellery when I was in my late teens and creating gifts for friends was very satisfying.
Since then, I have gone on to teach myself other skills and I sing, which is and has always been my biggest passion. I am able to distract myself from the pain and loneliness with these hobbies and interests. Do they make me happy, yes; do they distract me from my pain, yes; have I stopped having self pity, no.
No? What do you mean no? Surely with all the other stuff going on, you would pack it in feeling sorry for yourself. Yes, that is what I thought too and whenever I sank into a pit of despair, it would worsen from thinking like that and from others saying it to me. I would get really angry with myself and still think I was wallowing. How on earth was I going to stop feeling this way, I’m an attention seeking prima donna!!
This thought was the usual reaction to the times I felt very low. It has taken a long time to finally accept that I feel like this because of my depression and because I have a really crappy illness that has no predictability, no cure and sometimes very little relief. Of course I feel low, who wouldn’t? But I also knew that I always came out of it on my own and even when at my lowest, I could say that it was only temporary.
It was by accepting these facts that I could eventually let myself feel self pity, to give myself permission to feel sory for myself. Why fight something that is not going to change in the immediate future? It only leads to more negative feelings.
I now find that by allowing myself to wallow occasionally, lets me feel better when I feel good and this is the message I want to bring to you today. If you are unable to change something similar and it happens on an occasional basis where suicidal thoughts are not bad enough to act upon and you know that you will come through it; embrace it, accept it and OWN it. It is still part of who you are whilst you are struggling with whatever leads you down that path and you know when it is over, you can carry on being as fabulous as you are! Love yourself x