I’ve never been a big fan of frightening, gory, startling, or scary movies. Are you? As you’ve already read in previous fibromyalgia articles, I’m much more of a Downton-Abbey-Kinda-Girl. I can, however, get entangled into a good book that has all the suspense of a scary plot line, IF it has other strong story lines, too. In that case, I get to choose when to turn (or even skip!) the page. To me, feeling fear or fearfulness isn’t entertainment.
But, I must be in the minority on this point — at least by Hollywood movie ticket purchasing standards. Have you seen these scary movies?
Depending on your age, if I asked you to tell me the scariest movie you’ve ever seen, you’d probably answer at least one of these: Creature from The Black Lagoon, Frankenstein, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Exorcist, Jaws, The Shining, or A Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.
I saw the movie The Exorcist as a young teen based on my mother’s sound advice. She said I wasn’t old enough to “handle it” so when I visited my out of town sister for a weekend, we headed straight for the theater. Aren’t big sisters great?
I didn’t sleep for a month.
I was certain my bureau dresser was alive. Every night, long after I should have been asleep, the pull handles on the drawers smiled at me … evil, maniacal grins. My bedroom door opened and closed of its own accord. There were gruesome faces looking at me through my second story window. (In my imagination, anyway.)
The fearful mind
is fertile ground.
Even then, I remember thinking – who would want to be scared ON PURPOSE?
When my kids were teens, they went through a scary movie phase. I declined invites to go to these movies or rent them to watch at home. A classmate of my child once said to me, “Isn’t being scared fun?”
I didn’t answer at all … but, here’s what I wanted to say. “Are you serious? Everyday life is scary! Why would I go out and look for ways to invite fright?”
Maybe you feel this way, too. Life is full of frightening surprises at every turn. Dealing with fibromyalgia, chronic illness, or any health challenge may feel like one of those very scary surprises.
A while back, I did an informal social media survey. I asked, “What ONE single thing keeps you from moving forward in your own health journey?”
First of all, I learned to never ask a community of fibrofolk to list just one thing. I received dozens of answers. But I was soon able to ferret out a theme. I’ll guess that you’ll see it, too.
- Increased pain
- Becoming worse than now
- Learning new habits is hard – old habits are easy
- Confusion over new goals
- Stress over financial investments in health
- Difficulty in staying positive
We’re afraid of increased pain, of feeling out of control, of not knowing what step to take, of spending our time and money in unfruitful pursuits, and of feeling like a failure, etc.
The bottom line?
FEAR of change is the single
greatest roadblock that prevents
us from moving forward.
Change is scary, isn’t it? Maybe it’s not as scary as someone coming after you in the dark with a chainsaw, but nevertheless, it is scary. When you think of starting a new nutrition program or fitness routine, what thoughts pop into your head? It’s negative stuff, right? That’s where the mind, when fueled, goes into overdrive. It can either be your most helpful asset or your greatest hindrance.
Those of us who are challenged with fibromyalgia and chronic illness seem to gravitate toward all or nothing thinking. Things are win or lose, black or white. There’s no middle ground and no room in our world for gray. We’re very unforgiving of ourselves.
Here’s a simple exercise. Looking ahead to your future health journey, imagine standing in front of a closed door. Unknown benefits and challenges await unseen. The door all by itself holds no threat, but the unknown factors behind it may feel threatening.
This is how most of us view change. We feel the door is open or closed. We’ll succeed or fail. We’ll find pain relief or still live with pain. We’ll start a new life or feel resigned to the old one. It’s the uber-familiar all or nothing scenario.
But … life isn’t all or nothing.
Change isn’t right or wrong.
Change allows us to learn something new, continue with what works, and move past what doesn’t. It’s all part of the journey. As I frequently say to clients, “Embrace the gray!”
You get to CHOOSE where to place your mental concentration. You get to CHOOSE your inner thoughts. Are you going to focus on your known and familiar past or your exciting future?
Imagine if your thoughts about fear of failure could flip to anticipation of success? That process is neither quick nor easy, but it’s completely doable. It’s a conscious choice that can be made every single day.
Even if the phrase, anticipation of success, doesn’t easily glide off your tongue, I’ll meet you halfway. What if you simply changed your inner talk to repeat positive and hopeful thoughts most of the time? Try this on for size: I anticipate and accept whatever progress I make — without judgment.
Is your body worth the investment of your time and money? The focus of each of these resources is where you’ll find success. Whether you’re in for a penny or pound, are you worth investing in?
Fortunately, your body has an open door policy. The door welcoming change is always unlocked. It invites you to take a breath, smile, and step forward.
It’s time to open the door to change! When you step over that threshold, what will you CHOOSE to experiment with first?
Have you ever been afraid of change? Even changes that may lead to healing? Share your experiences below! How did it work out for you?
This original article was written by me and first appeared in the UK Fibromyalgia Magazine.
It is reprinted here with permission.
I mentioned my affinity for Downton Abbey above. I wrote two articles right after season three which were humorous and wildly popular. Feel free to check them out below!
You can read the 13 Ways Fibromyalgia is Like Downton Abbey – Part ONE here.
You can read the 13 Ways Fibromyalgia is Like Downton Abbey – Part TWO here.
Did you get a chance to listen to my radio interview last week with Sandra Malhotra and Dawson Church? If not, you’re in luck! Here’s another opportunity to listen in and discover the healing tips and benefits of EFT. Just click the image or the link below.
Generation Regeneration Fibromyalgia and EFT Tapping Radio Interview Replay.
Excellent and helpful. I’m doing better with ’embracing the gray’. For me, it has been all about dabbling with what might work to help my life. I do try a lot of things and money goes out the budget. Thankfully, some have worked but most have not. I am extremely sensitive or I am simply working with so many more issues than FM alone. How can FM be alone? LOL or not. It is more than enough in itself! So I keep what works and am always ‘open’ to what interests me for trying with the anticipation of ‘maybe this’ (so and so) will be helpful. I just never know! I loved your list of the reasons we don’t like to change or are too scared to try to change–again. They are spot-on. Of course, for me, most of my attempts of change have led to grieving. It just wasn’t for me. It just didn’t work. It just wasn’t helpful. It made me feel worse than I was and now back to a month of recovery for something I tried in true faith. It’s tough. But I found I need to move forward. Stability may never come. But I will be kind to me and understanding for I am doing the best I can. You are a wonderful source of support and ideas. God bless you mightily.
Julie — such a great and heartfelt summary of your experience. Sometimes, when I work with clients who’ve formerly tried protocols that “didn’t work,” I’ve found that they’re lacking guided support to look at all angles of healing. It really does “take a village” to help someone who’s dealing with a runaway chronic challenge. It’s hard to get a cohesive approach when most practitioners specialize. You can find someone to help with nutrition and another practitioner to help with detoxification, etc, but it does take a combined approach to really start getting traction. I’m so grateful that you’re still looking for solutions and still open to trying …
For me, there has been fear in trying to eliminate dietary items in an attempt to help with the fibro. My biggest one is sugar. The fear of going through nasty withdrawal symptoms and detoxing is scary when you’re already sick and tired. But I don’t want to look back ten years from now and wonder “what if”. So onward we go!
Kim — yes, onward we go! There are many ways to deal with sugar cravings and we’re so lucky to have options. Education is always key, and then we can choose the protocols that work best for us. EFT is a wonderful method for dealing with cravings and for sugar in particular, there are even herbs that make sweet foods not taste so great. Email me if you’d like more info.
I use to love change and really relish new things and now, I think because of chronic illness, I no longer do. I do try lots of things to help my pain and am starting a new course through the hospital soon to manage pain. This is an inspiring post to motivate us. Thanks and thanks for joining in at Fibro Friday
Lee — you’re so very welcome! I’ll pray for a great outcome for your new class. And, thanks so much for including my posts in your Fibro Friday events!
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