It is difficult to know what is making you feel bad.

How you feel depends on

natural body chemicals causing emotional states, including hormones (premenstual tension)  and daily fluctuations (sleep/wake cycle)

plus food,  coffee, tea..

plus medication – for the illness; for symptoms; for mental state.

plus how people around you are feelingtheir anxieties or their happiness affect you too.

plus symptoms: such as an infection beginning; your temperature raising below the level of consciousness; stiffness in joints or bodily pains coming and going.

plus your most recent conversation with the doctor/your partner/your neighbour… as well as earlier ones which have stayed in your mind.

 On top of which are your own anxieties waiting to be triggered.  Such as:

                Ordinary work/employment anxieties depending on your job (or lack of one)

                Ordinary family anxieties depending on your family (or lack of one)

                       Anxieties around your illness:

                Have I done the right thing?

                Should I or should I not be using this particular medication

                Are the benefits outweighing the side effects, the disadvantages (symbolic as well as physical)?

                Are the medications going to make me ill or worse in some way?

                Should I be doing more physical exercises or will they harm me?

                What is going to happen to me in the future? What about my family?

                Am I getting an infection – and is this going to be dangerous ?

                Am I making a fuss about nothing?

                Am I not making enough fuss about something that needs attention?

Sometimes these anxieties sit ‘on the back burner’; sometimes they move forward into consciousness, triggered by how you feel or something someone has said.

These anxieties have a feedback effect, winding mood up or down.

 How do you decide which is causing what?

You may be able to change one thing at a time to see if it has an effect.

           But how long does it take for any drug to work through your system?

            Life changes all the time, so you are never really changing one thing at a time.

            Coming off pills, cutting down, may bring old symptoms back to the surface.  Or new ones entirely.  Can you wait until they have subsided again?  Suppose they don’t?

Some decisions are truly difficult.

Generally people think a bit about what is making them feel the way they are, then give up after a time, realising it’s too complicated and nobody can really know…  There may be some obvious changes to make; there may not.


About thetroublewithillness

I've been a counsellor for people with physical illnesses for a long time now, and learnt a lot about what it's like living with your own or someone else's illness. I want to pass some of this on.
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