Sitting in a work meeting. Crackling away. At least I can hear my own crackling inside my throat, from bubbles of Co2 and used oxygen trying to escape my damaged airways, but it can’t. I’m worried now. And embarrassed. This was a regular occurrence as I tried to abstain from coughing so not to be a pain in the ass or interrupt people, or god forbid, spread germs.
COPD makes it difficult for sufferers to get rid of C02, it makes us breathless, it makes us tired, it makes us frazzled. It makes us cough, wheeze, splutter and emit, sometimes in the most uncontrollable ways you can imagine. Then you start to worry about what others think.
Sometimes, it also results in you rejecting get-togethers, nights out and fun social nights. You are just too exhausted, you can’t ‘drink’ because alcohol is inflammatory and ‘missing’ out is another horrid pill to swallow. All these things are NOT pleasant.
It can have an emotional impact and take its toll ALONG with the physical symptoms you are already suffering. All together, this puts us at higher risk of stress and depression.
So how did I deal with this?
Secondly, I adopted a policy of honestly, openness, integrity and transparency. The only way for other people to understand is to tell them. As soon as I found out about my condition, I told my family, friends and work colleagues. This doesn’t mean spilling out all the private details or constantly talking about your illness and boring them to death. But if you’re open with everyone, you have the opportunity for them to be more considerate towards you and cater for your needs. This is NOT being selfish nor is it a get-out-of-jail card (which is why I stress the honesty and integrity part) . This is critical condition in which you need help from the environment AND people to help you keep it under control. This usually lessens the feelings of being embarrassed. At least people know what you’re going through now.If they don’t understand. They’re morons. Don’t waste your energy or breath (no pun intended ;)) worrying about them.
Thirdly but not lastly, I also adopted a self-care policy and always putting the self first ESPECIALLY when it comes to health. As you’ll have seen in my first post, I stress that you DO matter. I was inspired by other holistic, alternative therapy teachers. Admittedly, I read TONS of self-help books, but came across this best seller ‘You can heal your life’ by Louise Hay. And to this day, I still listen to her podcasts or meditation video’s to help with meditation, relax or sleep, especially on a bad day. You do have the right to happy, healthy life and this should be your go to motto.
And remember, happiness doesn’t mean you should be happy every day. Otherwise you won’t be able to appreciate the light. You will have bad days. But you’ll also have good days. Yin-Yang. Sun. Moon. Light.Dark. Black. White. These things exist only with the opposite force.
Be careful when you are in a vulnerable place though, because being a dark hole and looking for answers can also lead to destructively finding answers or trying to forget and not deal with it e.g. turning to alcohol, spending a fortune on BS self-help books etc. Go with authors and recommended books that won’t ask you to spend money. Peace, love and care should be free, not a profit.
Also remember you can talk to communities, similar people who are out there suffering and get the support of established charities or institutions to help you navigate your way through your tough times. Check out my posts here and here.