A lot of my therapy at the moment is based on teaching me to take a more compassionate approach to my illness, recovery and, well myself really. My psychologist is encouraging me to be ‘kinder to myself’ and to be able to rationalise any negative and unhelpful emotions. Apparently, one of the ways I might tackle this is to write myself a ‘compassionate letter’, something like this:
It is true that the last 5-10 years have been difficult for you, and everyone around you. Unfortunately, due to very real and physiological problems, some people simply cannot function in certain environments. Different scenarios may act as triggers to unbearable anxiety, and a whole host of secondary problems besides. But please try and remember that none if this is your fault – you did not ask to become ill.
You are engaged and cooperating with a team of professionals who are fully invested in helping you recover, or at least be able to manage your illness to allow an improved quality of life. You are doing everything that is asked of you – you seem determined to get better and this is half the battle. There are times when you feel frustrated, angry, low, irritable, defeated…or all of these together, and this is understandable. Who wouldn’t be? These feelings, although distressing, pass. You know this from experience and you have learned many coping strategies to enable you to ‘ride out’ this wave of emotion.
There is no time limit on recovery. You’re doing well and, with sustained effort, you will continue to do well until one day you will feel confident enough that you can build a life for yourself…just keep going!
I think that more or less ticks all the boxes when it comes to compassion, warmth and kindness. But I am numb, I am detached and I don’t believe a word of it.