Couch potato and an 'A' type RA hero
She was saying that the beliefs we grow up with such as "if you feel sick don't give in to it" and "you can do anything you set your mind to" may need to be changed when you develop a chronic illness. Feelings that make you "soldier on" and "push yourself through the pain" may help you get ahead when you're healthy but once you are ill you need to listen to your body and take good care of yourself so that your health does not get worse.
This extra care for yourself can make you feel guilty and lazy when your body calls for rest. This is when you call on your communications skills and ask for help and understanding. The course leader also suggested a strategy for coping with worry. You save it up all week and worry from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm every Wednesday night.
Another strategy for dealing with what you've lost is to do an assessment of your skills with the idea of finding which are transferable to the new self that you will have to create. The self which you reinvent based on your new reality can be very different from the old, but the bedrock is the same.
Here's a link to a book "Positive Coping With Health Conditions" which you can read online as HTML or download as a 42MB PDF. It helps you to learn more about living better. It's a long journey with changes and losses along your road. Remember, stress management is a life skill that you can learn.
One of the adjustments you can make is to put yourself in the center of your life. Another is giving yourself permission to be good to yourself. Guilt and worry make that hard but remember our course leader. "I never met a couch potato with RA."
*pictures copyright amckinnon