I have a diminished span of attention. Technology has made me become comfortable multitasking at work and in my personal life, but because of this, it is difficult to focus on just one thing at a time.
Since I have been diagnosed, lupus has changed my mental pace due the on-going flares and mind fog, forcing me to slow down. My memory fades when I push it too hard, my body gets easily tired after a busy day, and staying focused on daily tasks is much harder than before.
Yet, thanks to this change, positive things have emerged.
I have spent more time in bed, snoozing, and when I am feeling better, I read books. This unplanned break in my life has given me the opportunity to go through some beginner’s meditation books, and to look inside myself to recognize hidden emotions that I have avoided for years.
One day, during an audio-guided mindfulness meditation, I noticed how anxious I was: a continuous mix of thoughts and emotions; a melting pot of gratitude, frustration, sadness, fear, love, and embarrassment over having a chronic disease – this was my monkey mind.
My heart started to beat fast, and I could see my distress of letting it go.
Going through this meditation made me jump into my invisible wounds. I listened to my desire to heal my body, hoping everything would go back to what it used to be. My suffering was coming from focusing on the past, instead of appreciating what the present has to offer.
The Mental Trap
Since my diagnosis, I have been trying to sugarcoat my negative emotions, and then, move on to the next activity, just like a bouncing ball without really taking care of my real issues. I have always believed that whining, or worrying about what may happen is not really useful, nor helpful. Yet, it is so hard to put that theory into practice.
While I still believe that the above is true, meditation has forced me to be more attentive to my thoughts, and to better understand how they are connected with my fears and concerns. I didn’t realize how much they were bothering me.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Achieving a better understanding of what blocks my happiness is helping me figure out what I need to do to feel better and act on it. It’s like making an informed decision. Letting go of my previous ‘suck-it-up and move on attitude’ helps me reset my goals to something I can actually achieve.
This process is a big adjustment for me, but I want to learn. I NEED to learn; otherwise, I won’t be able to enjoy life as it is.
My imperfect meditation practice during these past weeks, has worked as an effective boot-camp therapy, to identify and accept my negative emotions, lean into them and find new answers. I will continue my journey, and keep you posted.
What about you, have you tried meditating yet?
“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
― Brené Brown
Hope was diagnosed with lupus in 2013. Since then, she decided to learn more about her condition, and explore ways to feel better. Before recently changing her life aspirations to focus on the lupus cause, she worked for several years in the technology industry, holding different engineering, marketing and leadership positions. She is Brazilian, and lived in the Silicon Valley and in the UK. Now, the lovely state of Oregon is her home.