Health & Wellbeing

Your Past does not equal your future

Lesson 7 Module 3

A goal of this course is to show you how to deal mentally and emotionally in coming to terms with kidney disease. Your attitude to both life and health will be the difference between you living with kidney disease or suffering with kidney disease. It is a long term illness remember, so the sooner you view your illness in this way, the sooner you will learn to live and thrive with it.

Before being diagnosed with kidney failure, I had my life pretty much planned out. I was to become a fitness professional or a Physical Education teacher. Upon being diagnosed, I was lost. It felt a part of my future was disappearing, like a mirage, upon diagnosis. I felt my goals, ambitions, ideals and the potential I had were lost. These were my thoughts when I was diagnosed with chronic end stage renal failure, (kidney failure). Despondent, lacking clarity, seeing my future plans disappear overnight. I had a very obvious sense that I was under-skilled, mentally and emotionally, to deal with the issues confronting me. These feelings swallowed me up for quite a while.

It took years for me to realise that what I needed to do was leave that imaginary life behind, because it no longer existed. I needed to concentrate on creating the best version of myself possible, within the perimeters of my situation. I was looking at the world and my life from the old way of thinking (a healthy sports student). I was looking to a reality that no longer existed. This was my past and, of course, it was causing great anxiety. I could not go back and change anything, yet I was judging myself based upon who I was. It was a heavy burden to carry.

Two monks story- Years studying the academic and theory of god and religion. Reality can be different.

That is what we are working on, how to deal mentally and emotionally with the events of our life in the real world. Kidney disease is both your challenge and your teacher in this regard. Focus on the areas you CAN influence. Your attitude is certainly one of these things.

What to do?

Salvaging the past to create a brighter future.

My father loves watching TV shows such as "American Pickers" and "Salvage Hunters". They are both all about leaving the junk behind, taking what's of value and using the old to create a better new. They see how something old and no longer useful can be re-imagined, to be not just beautiful again, but also useful.

You need to think in terms of reinventing yourself.

Not change who you are but create a different version of who you are. I believe it will be a better version. So, take advantage of your personal traits and the experience that you can salvage from your past, and add to them the knowledge and attitude you need in developing a new version of yourself, because it is this new you that will be responsible for dealing with your illness and creating a good quality of life.