Friday, May 6, 2011

Assessing My Well Being

My Reality Check

I have a little questionaire I run through on a periodic basis, to assess where I am verses where I was.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the day to day aspects of managing my own multiple health issues and my mother's health issues, and caring for my mother, I lose perspective on the larger scale of how I am doing over time.  I first wrote about this list in June 2010, and have added a few more questions since then:

  1. Do you have a life threatening illness? No, unless anaphylaxis counts
  2. This year to last year, health improved, worsened, same? Worsened
  3. This year to last year, finances improved, worsened, same? Worsened
  4. Is your family life stable? Not as much as last year 
  5. Is your work life stable? Yes
  6. Are you not stressed, slightly stressed, really stressed? really stressed
  7. Are you feeling hopeless? No
  8. Are you tired? Yes, extremely so
  9. Have health problems affected your interaction with others? Yes
  10. Do you take yourself too seriously? Only under the cover of darkness!!!
  11. Do you have trouble concentrating? Most of the time
  12. Do your illnesses intefere with your ADLs? Yes
  13. Do you feel sorry for yourself? No
  14. Are you able to relax? Rarely
  15. Are you able to sleep? With Difficulty
  16. When you sleep is it quality sleep, leaving you rested? No
  17. Are there people worse off than you are? Yes Most Definitely
  18. Do you feel you are acting appropriately concerning your illness? Yes
  19. Do you still have a sense of humor? Some Days More than Others
  20. Despite your own issues do you have concern for other people's welfare? Yes
  21. Do you misuse or abuse medications given to you? No
  22. Do you project your feelings about your illness into your interactions with others? I hope not
  23. Have you put life plans on hold due to illness? Yes
  24. Do you feel illness has cheated you out of a life you deserved? No
  25. Are you happy/content? Yes
  26. Do you miss the life you used to have?  Yes
  27. Do you ever have a day where your illness disappears? Not anymore
  28. Does your illness make you fearful? Yes, I fear reaching my pain endurance limit
  29. Do you find joy in common everyday events?  Yes
  30. Do you feel your life, in all aspects, is better, worse, or the same from last year?  Worse
A great list, just what to do with it after I answer all the questions is a problem.  I look at my last list (I keep them in a folder on my PC) and I try to see if there is a trend with some of the questions - is my health improving, or getting worse?  Is my attitude better or declining?  When I figure out what is better I look at what is making it better and try to include MORE of that in my daily life if possible.  When I figure out what is worse I try to see if anything that is making it worse is under my control, and if so what can I do to improve this.  If something is not under my control I make a mental note to "let it go" and just let it be.

Does this method really help anything?  I am not sure it does. It makes me feel like I can make a difference in my own life.  It helps me identify what works and keep doing that, identify what doesn't work and find a way to change it.  I'm a planner and like to have things laid out so I know what to expect. Unfortunately one of the things I cannot control is the actual decline in my health and the rate of that decline.

There are a few questions that I consider true emergencies in self care that need to be taken care of ASAP.  One of them is projecting feelings about my illness into my interactions with others, so if I am feeling negative about my illness I am reacting negatively to others.  This is a sneaky one I have caught a couple of times just by using this questionaire.  For me, I was able to do a self adjustment, some one else may want to seek outside help or counseling, or even not do anything.  Another question I consider urgent is do I misuse or abuse medications given me.  Since I take some powerful pain killers this is something I need to be aware of, because I feel it is just a short step to addictive behavior from physical addiction.  The third "key indicator" for me is do I feel I am acting appropriately concerning my own illness.  Obssessing too frequently or just ignoring health issues are both problems I feel I need to address on occassion.  This blog is my outlet for obsession, and unfortunatley lately just ignoring health issues is not possible.  Big Sigh.

Hope you all have a great week, I am including my personal anthem I play when life starts getting overwhelming, from one of my favorite groups Chumbawamba, called Tubthumping.  I wish with my pancreatitis I could "piss the night away" with a whisky drink or a cider drink or a vodka drink once in a while - I guess listening to the song is my next best thing!!! My life is one big "I get knocked down, but I get up again" anthem. Sigh.


  1. I love this list of questions and the idea of taking a regular stock in how you are doing. Like you I tend to get caught up in the day to day management of life and sometimes forget to take a step back. I might steal this list and start using it myself, if you don't mind.

  2. Migrainista: For sure, use it, change it, improve it! It is interesting to see long term changes that appear, and how something urgent really doesn't effect you in the long run. Letting stuff go is hard for me, and I'm afraid the list doesn't help with that! :(

  3. I love that your list is so subjective and really shows your attitude because I being a negative person would answer some of the questions for you differently because of my outlook on life. I think that says a lot about you as a person (and probably a lot about me too!)

  4. DEJ aka MOMM: I don't have the same mix of illnesses as you do. I might be a little more on the negative side myself!!! and you have never known me when I had PMS on a regular basis!!! OMG, run for cover!!! I used to wear red to work so people could avoid me on my PMS days, saved a lot of conflict without anything being said.

  5. Wow. Great questionnaire. It's so brave of you to put it on paper and keep record. I couldn't do it. Looking back mentally is bad enough. I am so impressed with your ability to not feel sorry for yourself and you don't feel illness has cheated you out of a life you deserved. Wow. It sounds like you have acceptance of your illness. Your ability to let go is admirable.