When coping with an illness that impacts your thinking and quality of life, you may find yourself – well, let’s just say – not being very nice to others.
It may be that other people are treating you differently, or perhaps they truly are not being kind to you.
It could be that you are seeing others (and perhaps life in general) through a negative lens of interpretation.
After all, you are coping with an illness, your life is changing, and the illness itself may be impacting the areas of your brain that are responsible for making sense of other people’s behavior, and of your life situations.
Some of us (who suffer from neurodegenerative conditions) find ourselves getting cranky, feeling angry about our current life circumstance, and maybe even lashing out on others. Some of us may sometimes become suspicious of others, particularly those people, or a person, whom we care about. Perhaps there are some of you who are suspicious of others to the extent of having paranoia (feeling that other people may have ulterior motives or could be plotting against you).
During the times when you realize that you are behaving in an unpleasant way – during which time, you discover that your faulty interpretation machine (your brain) is being influenced by negativity, then stop for a minute and ask yourself the following questions:
Is this how I want to see life?
Is this how I want to see my – spouse, child, caregiver(s), friends, associates, family members, etc.)?
Is this how I want to be seen by others?
If you find that you are viewing the other person (or people) as being the “bad” guy(s), and you realize that this in actuality, may not be the case, you may want to explain to him, her, or them, just how your condition may be impacting your way of thinking. This is not the same as excuse making, as you will now have to truly go about changing the ways that you are interacting with others.
If you have been less than kind, there is nothing wrong with apologizing. This is not to say that whatever happened it is all your fault, but it may help when you feel that you may have been unnecessarily cranky or even downright mean, to let the other person or people involved become aware that this is not how you want to be.
Remember, you have some inner strength to change your behavior, no matter how difficulty that may be.
Exercise of Forgiveness:
In order to have a fresh start on being kind to others, you may want to begin by forgiving yourself. All of us can remember things that we have done, that we wish that we hadn’t of. Next time that you remember some of the things that you have done that you feel bad about, talk to your mind and with each memory, say:
“Yes, I did it, and I forgive myself for it.” (This acknowledgement is called owning the behavior).
If you have wronged someone else, consider apologizing or making attempts to right the wrong (if that corrective or amending action would not create further problems for the person).
Remember, in order to be gentle to others, you first must learn to be gentle to yourself.
It is good to also find someone who will truly forgive you (and who could serve as a symbol of forgiveness).
Now, start paying careful attention to the words you say to others (and how you are presenting to others).
If you are cranky, don’t forget to ask yourself the questions of whether or not this is: 1) how you want to see the other person and 2) how you truly want to come across; before you speak or take any negative actions.
Remember the following: -> Own it -> Forgive Yourself -> Challenge yourself to improve in the future.
Ideas for Action:
1. Practice using Assertive Communication: “I think”,“I feel”, “I would like” (instead of “you always…”, “you never”).
2. If you don’t already have a therapist, contact one and then arrange for an appointment for individual (and/or family) therapy.
3. Socialize with others, particularly those who will support you (and uplift your mood). Don’t isolate!
4. Do what the medical professionals tell you, which may include: eating better, exercising (if, or to the extent that you are able), obtaining the proper amount of sleep (again, this may be difficult), and taking your medications as prescribed (and on time).
5. Do some journal writing (if you are able to write, if not, practice some similar form of releasing feelings in a healthy fashion).
6. Try going to a support group, and try it not just once but push yourself to make it.
7. Look into spiritually uplifting things or spiritual supportive activities.
8. Reward yourself in healthy ways for every healthy behavior. You may even purchase or make something (or have it made for you), that will symbolize your new recovery life.
9. Get back into hobbies or take up new hobbies (depending on your physical ability).
Keep up the good work! Keep working on yourself, you are worth it!