Monday, June 4, 2012

Dealing With Challenges

I’d known about Crones disease for years before I was ever diagnosed.  My younger brother had been in and out of the hospital battling the disease since 2005.  Although I never understood what he was going through, I do now.  I admit I feel a little guilty for not expressing enough sympathy for his condition.  It was hard for him to have a job because the pain caused by the flare ups distracted him for performing his duties.  A lot of the time I thought he was just being whiny and lazy.  Little did I know I’d be experiencing the same symptoms a few years later.

Three years ago I started having sever cramping in my lower abdomen.  For almost a month I underwent several tests, all of them expensive, and finally was told I had crones.  I remember bringing home a pamphlet.  The opening line basically said, “you have crones, you will have it forever, accept it.”  

This post isn’t about a disease that I have, it’s about challenges.  The challenge with crones is that it affects everything I do—including my writing.  Think about when you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed, work a full shift at work, play around the house with your kids, and try and squeeze in a few hours in to write.  It’s sad to say, but the latter two always seem to get put on the back burner and the only thing getting attention is work—and only because it pays the bills.  So how do I get around it?  The honest truth is sometimes I don’t, but for the days that I do I attribute it to a terrific wife and a great support group. 

A support system is critical whether you have something holding you back from your writing or not.  For my disease I have found several people, including my brother, that I can talk to when the flares give me trouble.  A few words of encouragement from anyone can help boost confidence and give you strength to overcome the challenges you face.  This doesn’t mean that I call and chat with someone and, poof, all is better—but it does help.  Establish some connections with people now.  There are so many willing to help and support anyone, you just have to allow them too.

My biggest challenge isn’t getting sick; it’s a mental challenge of allowing myself to be sick.  I think as writers we often are on endless guilt trip for not doing the things we should.  Heck, we feel guilty when we do something bad to one of our characters—and they don’t even exist.  You have to allow yourself to take breaks.  You have to allow yourself to rest and heal.

Like the opening line in the pamphlet, I’d like to share something similar, “you have challenges, you will have them forever, accept it.”  This doesn’t mean you can’t concur them.  If you can then you’ll be the better for it.  With building a support group and allowing yourself time to rest from the climb you can see past the things that hold you back.

And that's my key on dealing with challenges.

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