Thursday, July 5, 2012

Interstitial Cystitis Mental Gymnastics - Part Three (The Blame Game)

The Blame Game
The blame game I am talking about today is the one we play with ourselves. Sometimes having a chronic illness like interstitial cystitis seems like the biggest thing in our lives, especially at first. It can be easy to use the disease as a scapegoat for everything bad that happens. Of course, that means we are blaming ourselves, which in most cases is not fair, and certainly isn't healthy.

A great example is the time my family was driving to Florida from Michigan, and we had to stop just short of our Disney destination for me to go to an emergency room. I thought I was in a horrible flare, but actually had a raging bladder infection. At the time, I felt guilty and "blamed" myself for our family "losing" a day of vacation. Let's step back, however, and digest this logically:
  1. First, whether it was an infection or an IC flare, it wasn't my fault. Period. Nothing I did made me sick. Nothing I did gave me IC. 
  2. Second, my family did not really lose a day of vacation. While I was in the ER, they were back at the hotel swimming in a pool and having a great time. It wasn't the Mouse's pool, but it was a pool, and the weather was warmer than it had been in Michigan when we left. No one else perceived it as a problem, why did I?
  3. Third, if I hadn't gone to the ER, I would have become that much sicker. Delaying treatment is never better than seeking help.
  4. Finally, it could have been anyone else that had gotten sick....and they have on other vacations. My husband broke a foot right before we went to Mackinaw Island once. He even rode a horse on that trip. Then, he broke his hand in a car accident before we took a two week cruise. I was totally understanding and even bought him an electronic reader to take so he could read more comfortably. My middle child used to get sick with something nearly every time we traveled or took a vacation. On one trip, I spent the day in the hotel room with her while the rest of the family went to a water park. And, each of my kids have missed parts of vacations because of baseball tournaments and band camp.
Do you sometimes blame yourself when bladder symptoms upset your family's plans? Then it is time to put things in perspective. Try not to exaggerate the burden your condition puts on others. It isn't fair to you and can set a bad precidence where everyone starts to inappropriatly blame you too. Instead, practice taking disruptions in stride and even with a sense of humor. Things happen. People get sick, and everyone gets something sometime. Why should we treat ourselves with less understanding and compassion than we do the rest of our family?

PS: I almost forgot to tell you! When I was at the emergency room in Florida, I used my "Restroom Access Card" from the Interstitial Cystitis Network. The physician's assistant looked up information on IC and was able to help me much more effectively than if I had to explain everything from scratch. These cards can also be handy if you are on a plane or need restroom access in a place that generally doesn't have public restrooms. A bargain at $2.49 for 3.

Related Posts:

Fighting Interstitial Cystitis Flares 
IC Patients - Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?
Mental Gymnastice Part One (Consider Intentions)
Mental Gymnastics Part Two (Turning Negatives to Positives)

Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

Helping Yourself Is the First Step to Getting Well

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder

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  1. I found turning negatives into positives helpful . Besides the IC I too have multiple medical issues and I am battling sinusitis now for 11 weeks. I reallly needed the ideas in that blog today! Thanks

  2. I used to always think "what horrible thing did I do to deserve this" and then I realized bad things happen to good people.

  3. Yes, Teresa, that can be a knee-jerk reaction to something like this. But my dad (who was the best person I have ever known) got pancreatic cancer. I know he didn't do anything to deserve that. Sending you understanding hugs..........