Steps to overcoming the biggest ailment of my illness: Guilt

Much like a large proportion of people with ME/CFS, I have a Type A personality. Essentially this means I’m an overachieving perfectionist. Because of this I am often overcome with guilt if I can’t complete a task the way I’d like.

For example, last week after a day of doing the CFS program and logging a couple of hours of work, I then had to go to the supermarket to get something for dinner and then come home and cook it. I stood in the produce section for a few minutes, torn over which vegetables I would buy. I held in my hand two packets of pre-sliced vegetables at $4 each. Do I buy these or do I buy each vegetable individually and chop them myself? The individual vegetables would be how my Mum would have done it, and it would be cheaper. But on the other hand…the pre-sliced packets would save a lot of time and effort. Eventually I caved and bought the two packets, but it took me a while to suppress the guilt over “cheating”.

In my head I knew this was completely illogical, but Little Miss Perfectionist still felt bad about it.

As a child I was told that I didn’t have to be the best, I just had to do the best that I could do. So whilst I may not always be overly competitive against other people, I’m forever competing against myself. I know that technically I can create a stir-fry from scratch, but physically I shouldn’t be even considering it when there are other options available to me.

And so I began my homework from week 6 of the rehab program: becoming aware of and perhaps changing my thoughts towards a situation.

Situation: Buying food for dinner

Feelings: Guilt

Why? –> Thoughts: I should be chopping the vegetables myself

Whilst you can’t necessarily change your emotions, you can work at lessening them and reworking your thoughts in order to ease that somewhat unhelpful emotion. At the moment this process is a long, manual one. But hopefully with practice, I’ll become quicker at doing it so I no longer need to feel guilty about utilising the “short-cut” options readily available to me and in turn lessen my workload.

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2 thoughts on “Steps to overcoming the biggest ailment of my illness: Guilt

  1. The best you can do’ does not mean the best a non full-time working mother who doesn’t have Chronic Fatigue syndrome and has the most amazing children in the world could do. It means ‘The best YOU can do’ given your situation. Sorry I’ve left you with a lifetime of guilt trips. Love you. xxx

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  2. I understand completely how you feel. I share very similar feelings but try to view it as the best thing I can do is save energy on things that don’t matter so I can do more of the things that do. It feels very lazy buying ready prepared veg, but if preparing it yourself limits what else you can do in a day it really isn’t worth the extra effort.

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