RA Strategies – Mental Health And Motivation
We discuss in this podcast:
- Changing the inner voice that often holds us back
- Strategies to prevent negative thoughts and mental loops
- Managing stress and identifying its sources
- Meditation for acceptance and freedom
- Approaching doctors the right way and appreciating their role
- Becoming the CEO of our mental health
Clint Clint here with my special guest Cecille, who is back on the podcast. She’s going to be talking about mental health, motivation, becoming CEO of your own health condition. And this is such an important episode because we’re going to talk about the whole mindset. Because Cecile’s been through a ton of challenges with going through not just getting off prednisone, as we’ve heard in the earlier episode but also other external pressures that happen in life. And we’re going to talk about how to deal with this condition with extreme pressures both from the condition and external influencing factors. So, Cecile, thanks for coming back and thanks for talking to us today about mental health and motivation.
Cecile Hi. Thank you very much for having me back. I think for me that was really very important things to tackle when dealing with rheumatoid arthritis because we are putting so much effort in trying to overcome the disease and trying to help ourselves. But of course, we have life going on, it doesn’t stop when you’re trying to heal so that can be a big challenge sometimes. What I found really important for me and I can see in the form I’m the only one with that, we often have this inner voice that needs to be changed. We very often talk to ourselves in a very negative way, either we cannot follow the diet properly. So then we see ourselves really badly or we can go to sporting enough because it’s very easy with this kind of disease to say, “oh, I need to rest.” Yes. But where was the balance between resting enough and exercising enough? So you think you need to rest. But then you think maybe it’s a trick you’re playing on yourself, not to go-to sport. So there are a lot of occasions where this inner voice is really working against us. And we need to become our best friend, because that’s the only way you can overcome everything you’re going to have to battle when it’s of course, the effort you have to put into a diet, but special things like an (inaudible)like trying together prednisone or having just real issues with your joints, needing to go through a surgery like a lot of us had to go. So, you just sense to face everything. For me, I would also really include about how you talk about your body parts. I don’t have a bad joint anymore. I have from time to time a joint that needs more attention. That’s really important to change how you tell your story, how you talk about yourself, how you talk about your disease. This is not something that is dragging me down now is just an opportunity to achieve better and to improve with more efforts. Also, I would say before you can go there and it might be difficult for a lot of people, you need to accept what is, you need to accept that you have this disease is totally unfair, it’s an awful thing. Right now, if you look at it there is nothing you can change right now, it is what it is. You have it and you have to deal with it. The same for your limitations, today your limitations are those, that doesn’t mean that you accept them and you will do nothing against it not at all. But you have to accept them to be able to think differently about them. And to start to see what is possible instead of seeing only the negative parts and only your limitations.
Clint And when we accept that the situation is as it is, then we have the pure truth of the scenario from which we can make the best decisions. Instead of sort of applying our own overlay onto the way we wish it was or making it worse now mind than it is because neither of those mindset positions enables us to take clear action. And what we’re after is action.
Cecile Then when you are still with this mindset, you spend a lot of your time and energy fighting this. And trying to find a way not to think about it or find a way to think about what should be, what could be, and your energy and focus is there, which is totally useless. You just really get exhausted with all these degenerates taking all the space in your life and in your head, and you cannot achieve anything because it’s completely there. So that’s why I really insist on saying accepting doesn’t mean you settled for it, and you think nothing can change. Accepting he’s just seeing things as they are now. Just seeing the truth because this is the fact end of the story, this is not debatable, It is there. And only when you were able to see that you can look forward and say, “ok how do I get from here to the next step? “And it will step up the time and really start to see things in the little steps. Because if you try to think, how am I solving these? How am I breaking free rheumatoid arthritis? This might just want to do nothing because its big. It’s really also about going little step by little step. Improve this, increase that, look at this and try to think about that. It can be a difficult time because we also know that there is no reason why you get (Inaudible). Of course, there is a genetic component, not everybody has it and some of us do. But even then, it’s not enough that you have them and your family to trigger it. So there is the diet, we know most of us how to end all these.
Cecile There is also stress. And the stress is also very difficult to understand at one point that you need to learn how to manage your stress. But you also need to look at your life and see where are the areas where you have a lot of stress, and maybe you need to change things in those areas of your life. And it can be very, overwhelming because we are talking about relationships, we’re talking about work, we’re talking about real things that our peers in your life and that you might not want to look at. I talk from experience there. So it’s a very difficult time if you don’t take care of your mental health. For me, what really helped me a lot is the meditations and teaching by (inaudible), she gives those for free on the podcast, on their Web site, you can find it anywhere. I recently realized that she’s also a writer and author, so I just bought some books from her so you can decide how you want to try websites, podcasts, and books. That’s really a resource that helped me tremendously. I shared it with a lot of people and I always have very positive feedback. She really helped me to completely stop the negative self-talk. So I don’t have anymore this little voice, which is always dragging me down all the time. And I think such a difference because I don’t need to worry about it. When a problem arise, I don’t have this terrible self-talk. What did you do again? That’s just not there anymore.
Clint Can you direct us very specifically to a particular meditation or book or podcast or resource that was most helpful for you from her, that helped you get rid of that negative self-talk? Because none of us are immune to that. I as well, I’m sure most people can relate to this negative self-talk. I’d like to know if there is something more specific than her work in general that you were using that most helped you.
Cecile Definitely, I would like to talk about her. So a lot of them in a podcast are (inaudible). What really helped me was called judgment, acceptance and freedom. So this is a retreat talk that she gave for free. You can find it on your favorite podcast app or on her web site, which is the tarabrach.com
Clint Yeah. Let me just spell that, tarabrach.com.
Cecile Exactly. This one is a very important one. And I’m looking as I am talking. So, I’m sorry if I’m a bit slow.
Clint That’s fine. We can move on now. What are the things on your list here? Do we have for your mental health and motivation tips?
Cecile One thing which is very important that I know that really helps me. It’s a book by Lisa Honkin and the book is called Mind Over Medicine. So it’s really what helped me as you say it yourself becoming the CEO of my own health. When I started all this process to be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and all of these issues, I really had this feeling that the specialist that would see would focus on a specialty. You know, your rheumatologist would focus on certain points and would, for example, not talk to me about nutrition. Not talk to me about exercise or official therapy. So it was really everyone sees its point. I am like any if us a complex human being, my body does not react to one medication. My body reacted to medication, stress, the weather, how good did I sleep? How much it did I sleep, how late hour did I go to sleep? The quality of course of my intake of my food, but not only the quantity. Also, when do they eat? Did I never stop eating for 24 hours? Or do they eat only once a day? And everything like that was really difficult for me to navigate until I found this book and I realized, the only person who can take out this is me. There is no doctor out there who would coordinate with all the specialist, who would tell me maybe you need to see your Chiropractor? Because you look stiff and you come to this and that, or maybe you need (inaudible) therapies because she will help you with this and that. And I realise I’m the only one who can do that. And if I don’t do it, nobody will. And I will just go on meeting specialist after specialist and who can help me with IBS? And what would be the interconnection with the IBS and rheumatoid arthritis?. And so this is for me a fundamental things to really keep in mind, you are the only one who can do that. You are the only one who could question what a surgeon would tell you about medication because your only one knows. No, I’m sorry I don’t want to take this painkiller because this painkiller is proved to be more prone to leaky guts that this one can be switched. The doctor will start to look at you strangely. They might feel like you’re really in pain, no problem I have absolutely zero problems with being in pain. This is my health, this is my future, this is my quality of life. I know and if I don’t know, I know who to ask. And I think most all the time as soon as you present yourself, like willing to work with a doctor. It might take some time to adjust because they are more used to patients willing to just say exactly what they say, without question. But when you can make these connections showing that I’m not against you. You have amazing knowledge about your specialty, I have an amazing knowledge about my body. So let’s work together to find the best solution for me with your knowledge. And when you manage to establish this kind of relationship, doctors are really willing to work with you and they even feel that you recognize that their knowledge, their specialty, and that they can help you. And they start to actually see that maybe you value your help or their help. More than most of the patients, because you’re really trying to function to your situation with their help.
Clint Well, yeah. And we don’t always get that negative response either from the medical, as you’re saying now. From the medical professionals, because I’ve had many a client who’s following the Paddison Program doing great things with their dietary changes and exercise meet with their rheumatologist. And the rheumatologist will just say you’re improving. I wish I had more patients like you because they actually doing something about it rather than just sitting back, allowing the disease to progress and requiring more and more medications. There’s definitely a there is an equal amount of positive response from the medical community is that there is negative at least as much a positive. When we’re really paying attention to ourselves and working on ourselves as the CEO, as you put it. And also what I find interesting is that it doesn’t take that much more work to actually create a plan for yourself. So what I mean by that is, you know, let’s say you’ve got your rheumatologist, maybe you’ve got some other foot, a little bit problematic. You’ve got to go and see the foot specialists to get some special shoes, soften the padding on the shoes and sort of stuff. Let’s say you’ve got a few different specialists that you’re seeing. You’ve got some tonight. Is he going to see a specialist about you got a few specialists, right? It doesn’t take a lot of extra time to sit down and work out a plan. And what might become evident is you know what? Maybe that issue can be influenced by improving my exercise instead of walking five kilometers a day. What if I was to do a low impact exercise for my foot? That might relieve the foot problem. And what about if I’ve got this tinnitus? What if I improve further my dietary changes? Would that potentially improve both the foot and the tinnitus? Because we know the whole body’s nervous system that nothing’s uniquely out of whack on its own bodies, out of whack in general. And like just looking at the picture of ourselves and being at the top of the tree, looking down and saying, each of these things is happening and there might be some clues there. And it doesn’t take it like that little exercise, a little example over one minute or two minutes is all that needs to be done. How is this all fitting together? What do we get going on here? And the solution is always going to be partially making improvements to our lifestyle. And they can just a little tweak here might be obvious. Something that’s been sitting under our nose for a year could jump out at us and say maybe I can back off the walking with that issue and the other. And that can come out as when we do that. So that’s great. Okay. So we like Mind Over Medicine by Lisa Rankin. I’ll put a link to this in the show notes of this episode. Do we have any other tips here for motivation and mindset that you’d like to share with us?
Cecile Yeah, definitely. First some unusual things about motivation. I know for you know, it was a poster with your goals that you had always visible. For me, there is something else that is also always visible, this is a tattoo pretty visible. When I was actually doing my battle against the prednisone, I realized I needed something to keep up my motivation and I wanted something to celebrate and always have with me. And that was actually the statue to remind me all the time that I have the strength and I can do it. And I cannot avoid it, its always there. And I know that it’s moving. It means also, you know, I can move my hands on. So for me, I think we can all find something that helps us. I don’t say go and get a tattoo that’s not the point. But you can, but that’s not you know, that’s not for everybody, I would say it can be a tattoo or it can be journaling. So for people in the forum, journaling I think it’s very helpful. Not only you help yourself, but you help other people as I discovered, you can do that in a favorite journal. And also, what is very important to me is look ahead. Imagine what could be, not get in your head completely stuck in this life forever. But also, don’t look at what life was before and focus on trying to get that back because you have rheumatoid arthritis, you will never be able to forget about the quality of your lifestyle. Maybe that’s what you did before, No, that’s not an option anymore. If you want to stay in control and if you want to keep up improving, you need to be aware that you need a very good lifestyle from now on. So it’s useless to say, “I wish I could walk again like this all the time”. One day we’ll be able to do that once in a while. You can’t really look back and say, I want everything as it was before because there are reasons we’ve been there. For us, we didn’t hear our body whisper and we had to react because it was shouting. That means that changes need to be really consistent. I don’t say we will be extreme for the rest of our life, but we have to be aware of the rest of our lives that this is there. And even when we overcome it, I think it doesn’t take much to just come back and remind itself that, hey I’m the beast, I’m there. Be careful. For me, it’s important to remember you have to look ahead and think about what can be good in a lot of things can be good again. Don’t try to forget what was before you.
Cecile Also, something which I saw a lot, and I think that’s one of the key of success, or at least that’s how it shows. such a disease can really be transformative to an amazing point. Because for many, that’s really the bottom of the pool that you need to reach then you can really kick up hard, I know for me it was. I definitely had a lot of areas in my life that were trouble, and it was so scary to even look at it that it was much easier to just ignore everything and pretend, okay it’s not good but you know if I try harder and harder and harder than it will be good. Well, I didn’t have a choice anymore everything crumbled at the same time. So the divorce, (Inaudible), rheumatoid arthritis, and not that long after losing my job because I just could not work full time again for about two years. That’s the time you (inaudible) And after that, the company will just let go of you and then you enter another system. For me, It took to go that far, so I could finally look at everything and say, okay it’s not working like that, let’s stop to do what is not working and let’s try to see what would you want? What I could really do that wouldn’t stop? That would not hurt me anymore because I was hurting myself in many ways. So I think that’s important to realize that can be very transformative, that could be an occasion to improve many things in your life. I don’t say that I am happy with rheumatoid arthritis, I can’t say that, but I’m very happy with a lot of things that have happened since then. And something I would like to share because, for me, that was a travel. A lot of us are using the pain as a motivation, which I think is important because I’m very reluctant to take pain killers because I feel this pain is really my body whispering when it starts again. And I need to listen to that and I need to take action and I need to realize something is not in balance anymore. But the problem is, like all of us, I did build a high pain threshold and I went to a point where the pain was pretty high and going up. And I was just, oh it’s ok. I just need to do more of these. Increased that and it was too much, actually. And I should have reacted. Before that, it was too much. So it’s very important to use the pain, b but just be aware that maybe. Look, I think more often than you want to just to make sure you are still in the level of pain that you can use, and not in a level of pain that he’s actually the (inaudible) because it’s too much inflammation for everybody to do good. So that’s really something which is not easy, but I think it’s very important to keep that in mind.
Clint Yes, that’s a really good point. Absolutely. Well, thank you. We’ve got a lot of tips from you there, and I know that you’ve had a lot of challenges that you’ve had to deal with and you’ve got a lot of experience in this area. So it’s worth pointing out how positive you always are inside rheumatoid support, encouraging other people and sharing upbeat posts and not in a way that’s annoying where we know that one day you’re going to say, I can’t handle it, but I’m freaking out. No, it’s genuine. And I think that, you know, those resources that you’ve shared, both that video that can be watched online and also the book and also the other tips that you’ve given us can be really helpful.
Clint So thanks for coming to this episode. And talking about motivation and mindset is really crucial when we’re in pain, when we’ve got problems and we have a condition that threatens the future because we often project and worry about the future. And that’s why we need to get our mindset and motivation and strategy correct. So thanks very much, Cecile.
Cecile Thank you very much.