Building Resilience in Spite of Vacillation
Over the last several years I’ve done a lot of reading on chronic disease management and resilience. The goal of all that reading is to gain better tools for how to deal with the mental aspects of my health problems. Being diagnosed with an incurable disease that only seems to get worse despite ones best efforts is not a bowl of cherries. How one chooses to deal with it is entirely up to that individual however.
Maybe it’s just me and my background but I vacillate between extremes in attitude. Some days I recognize the power in non-attachment. We all get sick and old and die; that’s part of life. Accepting that journey to death as an individual process certainly has some power. Decisions about your health care, estate planning, and acceptance of ones lot in life are a lot easier with some level of dispassionate non-attachment.
And then there are the Dylan Thomas days. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I now know I presumptuously thought I would be ready to be old when I was old. Being relatively healthy and hale, I’d just get older. Maybe I’d get cancer since all the women in my family do, but it’d be a temporary setback. Chronic illness is a stealthy betrayal I never expected.
It’s hard to accept your body betraying itself. What if you’re not healthy and hale whether or not you’re 70. Does your age make it more depressing or easier to accept? I no longer think at the age at which I was diagnosed matters. It’s no more ‘unfair’ for me now that if I was older. It’s a shell game I played with myself. I thought my health would be easy to keep an eye on. Now I know, young or old, I’m not a master of yogic detachment. Like my Irish ancestors, when pressed I get angry or drunk or both.
So once I’m over my hangover, I vacillate back to my mat to try and build those samskaras of non-attachment.