January is a rough month. And this January has been rougher than many. As soon as I started to feel better from the medication transitions I came down with a bad cold. I’m having trouble shaking it. A lot of my goals have been put aside while I focus on making tea and food that I can eat despite my aching throat. I haven’t worked out or attended my doctor appointments, or done much of anything but the bare minimum.
I often feel like an expert in being chronically ill. I know how to look up doctors on my insurance company’s website. I know to ask if they cover me just in case when I make an appointment. I know to ask if the tests are covered as well when they suggest something. I know how many physicals and dental check-ups I get a year and I know what out of network versus in network means. I know how to get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. I know what an FSA is. I know I can ask my pharmacist if the medications I take could have dangerous interactions.
I love to travel but there are so many moving parts and elements that I cannot control. I worry about forgetting something. This is magnified a thousand-fold when traveling, because if I forgot something I can’t just go back for it later or get it in a few hours. I start to catastrophize—like what will I do if I forget my medication? Or what if I forgot to turn off the oven and my place burns down while I’m gone?
Why do we need to be different? Everywhere this time of year there are advertisements for New Year’s resolutions that will change you: make you better, make you different, make you a new you for the new year. Why do we want that? Why are we so unhappy with who we are?
There’s so much advice online about talking to oneself as a friend. You’re supposed to stop the negative self-talk that’s just making you more anxious and depressed. One of the number one pieces of advice on the internet is to treat yourself with kindness. You write out positive affirmations and say them into the mirror. Or you repeat mantras.