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Setbacks and How to Give Them a Kick Up the Backside!

A month or so ago, I had to slow up on coming off my antidepressant as the withdrawal effects were creating terrible issues of anxiety and heart palpitations. This was a bit frustrating as I had really hoped to get off them in around six months. Now I’ve learned that to do it sensibly could take 18 months! And now I’ve had another setback, this time with my diabetes. Despite eating a low carb/high fat diet 95% of the time, my blood sugar levels have still not reduced to a level I’d consider safe for my body. Granted, they are way better than they were, and my blood cholesterol has also improved massively – but I see to have hit a plateau.

In particular my blood sugar is at its highest in the morning (dawn phenomenon) and before/during my period. It may be hormones causing the problem, or it may be stress caused by not sleeping very well. Either way, until I can sort out the glitch, I have decided to go back on a low dose of medication so that I don’t inflict further damage on my body. In the mean time, I will try and tweak the areas of my life (other than diet, which is OK) to see if I can make more of an improvement. In particular I need to introduce more physical activity as, with Dex’s leg being bad, I have become more sedentary of late. Also I need to find a way of sleeping better, and to remember to take the supplements known to help blood sugar problems (Vit. D and Chromium)

But all this has really brought up an important issue for me. In the bad old days, if I suffered a setback of any kind, I’d throw in the towel, become depressed about it and then go and do more of what was bad for me because… why not? In this case I would have headed for the nearest cake shop and stuffed my self silly then arranged a supper that involved lots of potatoes (chips!) and bread (chip butty!).

But I haven’t this time. Have I become more resilient? More sensible? More grown up, maybe?

Possibly. After all, I am now at an age when I can look back on these relapses and see that they didn’t work. Not once. And they only made me feel better for the shortest time before I began to feel like an absolute failure again. Now I realise that any setback – or failure – is just the beginning of finding a way to succeed. Instead of sulking, I now just sit down quietly for a while, look at what didn’t work, and then make plans to try and discover what will work. The important thing is to NOT STOP TRYING.

Not that it’s easy. You may have a couple of hours when you feel down about not achieving what you wanted to. And that’s fine, take a couple of hours to feel that the world is unfair, that everything’s against you, if you must. But then GET OFF YOUR BACKSIDE and make something happen. Anything that is positive and moves you forward – whether it is to do with your set back or not. Then take a day or so to look at what went wrong, why, and what you can do to alter the outcome. It may require a bit of research, some support from a good friend, partner or organisation – but make it a priority.

I can’t remember where or when I learned to do all of this for myself, but I suspect it may have come from listening to some motivational speaker somewhere. They were right though and at some point I must have been smart enough to take it in and start to live by it. And maybe this will help someone to change the way they feel about setbacks too. Anyway, to summarise:

  1. Stop whatever it is you’re doing that isn’t helping (unless it’s medication, and then seek medical advice first).
  2. Have a couple of hours of feeling sorry for yourself if you must – but please try and avoid binging on food, alcohol, drugs or anything else that may be harmful.
  3. After a couple of hours, Tell yourself  that enough is enough and make yourself achieve something positive and active. This might be going for a walk, baking a cake, or even doing the ironing. Doing something physical will increase the endorphins running around your body which will automatically make you feel much better.
  4. Sit down with a pen and paper and list what went wrong – or didn’t happen the way you wanted it to. Make sure that your goal was achievable in the first place and that you weren’t asking too much of yourself.
  5. Do some research on how others have reached the place you want to be – look at what methods they used, what setbacks they may have suffered. The internet is a great place, although be judicious in what sites you visit – some may be trying to offer a quick fix for a lot of money. Most problems do not need money to be thrown at them – just a little common sense and perseverance.
  6. Find a way forward that is achievable and that makes sense to you. Commit to it and where necessary, set a time limit. If your goal is something big, break it down into small, manageable steps.
  7. If you still find yourself failing, then follow this plan all over again, but this time trying new strategies. Above all…
  8. DON”T GIVE UP! Persistence and dogged determination will get you a long way!

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