I need advice, please.

Postby Ashley2010 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:10 pm

Hello, I am new to the forum and I never posted anything like this before. I'm a 16-year old in online highschool, with several medical conditions, some of which has gone undiagnosed for a good portion of my life. I was born almost two months early and at one point, the doctos weren't sure if I was gonna make it. This lead to a lot of health problems later in life. My docor actually indtructed me to gain weight, because I wasn't growing. I've had two surgeries on my right knee, because of a growth prolem. This prevented me from gaining any athletic skills. I also suffer from ADD, hypothyroidism and celiac disease. I'm not sure if I have an anxiety problem, but I have shown signs of social phobia in the past and recently. I can even walk in my own neighborhood anymore because I'm too afraid of seeing other people or vice versa. I also struggle immensely with school and self-confidence. It started with elementary school, when my undiagnosed medical conditions interfered with my school work. I would pass gas and stink up the classroom and be known as the "stinky girl", or my ADD and absent seizures(undiagnosed until 6th grade) would cause me to miss what other kids of the instructors said. I had a hard time making friends, I only ever had one friend in my classes. I've always had a shy nature, but with the experience of multiple chronic medical conditions, made me stay away from others to not be a burden. The problem is, I've spent so much time trying to fix my body and trying to catch up in school, is that I haven't put down the time to work on myself, to find any passions or hobbies. I enjoy reading fantasy/fiction books and music, but lately I realized those two things are somewhat of an escape when I can't handle my problems. If I had a 7/10 physical pain, i would listen to my favorite song and drown out the pain. I have a daydreaming and chronic earworm(song stuck in your head for a period of time) problem because of this escaping habit. I can't sleep without falling into my fantasy world and I zone out while trying to concentrate. I also have multiple songs, quotes from tv shows and memories from my past constantly re-playing in my head. I think that's why I LITERALLY try to drown out my mind. I can't even use the toilet without reading something or going up the stairs in my house has been hard, because the mental noise just gets SO loud. I've dropped multiple classes in academics because physical symptoms started to arise from stress, but I steel feel scared when I try to think about my future. I feel like, if my life hasn't miraculously changed in about one year from now, I won't have an independent future. And I really don't want to live in my parents house after highschool. I've tried talking to my parents about this, but they're more concerned about getting me "healthy" before anything else. But I don't now what the heck I am outside of my illness. I feel like a giant burden on my parents, I'm the sibling that has more attention because of illness and I don't want to be that. It's hard seeing people and going to public places. I want to fix myself, but It'd hard to live a life in the meantime. Could anyone please tell me what to do?
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:34 pm

It sounds like you have learned to use medical conditions as a reason not to pursue any other goals in life. The recurring theme, reinforced by your parents, is that you can’t do X or Y or Z until you get medical condition A or B in check. And if you fail or struggle at something, the reason is because of condition A or B rather than it being a result of lack of effort, or from not scaffolding your learning.

The above creates a self-fulfilling cycle or prophecy. When you spend 90%+ of your mental energy thinking about medical conditions, then it naturally makes it hard to achieve anything else and it naturally makes it easy to explain any failures by saying it must be do to with a medical condition.

If I were you, I would start a “can” list. Start demonstrating to yourself things you “can” accomplish, things you can control regardless of anything else in the world and build from that list. Grow the list and expand on it.

For instance, you can read novels and you obviously have a decent ability to write. That shows an ability that you can focus for certain lengths of time, possibly an hour if not more. Writers and editors make decent money using these skills. It is something you can do to live independently.

Go for a walk. Whatever the distance, that is something you can do to put on the list. The next day go for a longer walk. Revise your list, showing what you can do. It might be a bit uncomfortable, it might generate a bit of anxiety, but it is about facing those uncomfortable moments and being able to add it to your “can” list.

Within a few weeks you will have an ever growing list of things you can do and this will help you start shifting your 90% of your mental energy away from medical, to 80%, 70%, 60%, etc. While increasing the amount of mental energy you spend focusing on things you can accomplish. And the best thing about writing down the things you know you can do, is when anyone questions your abilities, including parents, when they try to shift your focus to a medical condition rather than what you can accomplish, you will know better. You will have proof that they are wrong.
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