F.I.N.E.

If you have ever seen “The Italian Job” {2003} you may recognize F.I.N.E. from a scene in the movie. I remember chuckling in my head when I first heard what it stands for, for me at the time it rang true and continues to do so even till this day. If you have not seen the movie or heard of this acronym, here is what it means;

Many times in my life I have been asked “How are you doing?” Nearly every time I reply “I’m doing fine” when in actuality I am “fine” only by the above definition of the word. For many, it is awkward and uncomfortable to be honest and real when asked how are doing. We may feel embarrassed, that we will be judged or that others will think we are looking for pity. For me these are very true although there is one thing above all that goes through my mind in the instant that question is asked. I do NOT want to burden this person with my circumstance.

Inside I many be freaking out over how I am feeling, either physically, cognitively or emotionally. I do not want to create the same for a friend or loved one by sharing my reality at that time. I continue to tell myself that I can work through it myself, I’m a strong person and will be…fine. Throughout my entire life, even before my health went downhill, I would work through things myself. I managed to cope with situations and work through complications methodologically not needing help.

A downside to working through things alone, is the sense of insecurity that accompanies doing so. At the time you may not feel its full depth, it’s incredibly simple to make things up in your mind to give a false sense of security. When this happens it is simple to distract your thoughts with actions. Some may eat, shop, drink or turn to other ways to feel better in the short term. Rather than meeting insecurity head on.

In my youth I would party hard nearly every weekend, yes I did so to have fun and just be a teenager but in retrospect, there were certain things I did so to forget struggles in my life. I was and to this day am not a person to drink daily or to drink to the point I am completely drunk. Even if I was healthy and not on so many medications I am not an alcoholic personality. In my youth it was a distraction.

Now when it comes to Neurotic, the official definition is;

Neuroticism is a long-term tendency to be in a negative or anxious emotional state. It is not a medical condition but a personality trait. … People with neuroticism tend to have more depressed moods and suffer from feelings of guilt, envy, anger, and anxiety more frequently and more severely than other individuals.

As I look back at my life and life experiences, I can see clearly my neurotic tendencies. Though years ago I would have never admitted to these, I now see just how important it is to recognize these tendencies and properly manage them.

As I am writing this, I have a deep rooted sense of guilt. There are situations myself and in turn my family are in, where if I were not sick and were working full time we would never have known. For many reading this, I know I am not alone in this guilt. That being said it does not make it any easier. My wife does her best to assure me not to feel guilty for anything, it is out of my control. I know deep down it truly is, if I forget this fact, I am quickly reminded late in the day when my body and mind slow down due to physical and even mental exertion.

I tend to have a positive outlook on life and the trials it has thrown at me. For the most part this positively is genuine, at times it is forced. It wasn’t until 2010 when I began to have seizures that I was urged to speak to a professional regarding my anxiety. As with many I was skeptical at how speaking and the potential of medication would truly make a difference. Over time of being on medication I really did notice a positive difference in my overall mood, as did my wife!

All my life I’ve had mild OCD tendencies, as I lived more and more with an Ostomy I began to realize just how much I tried to plan for the future. Though this is not a bad habit to have, I now know there needs to be a certain point where you throw plans out the window and just deal with what is around the corner.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis throws in another curveball when it comes to planning ahead. Certain things can be planned for, such as warm weather which has a negative impact on most with MS. Other things cannot be planned for, such as waking up in the morning and lacking any form of energy. In past articles I’ve written, I share relapses of MS that came on during the middle of the day out of nowhere. What I’m learning is, that what I may have sorted in my mind for the short term and long term future is more likely to change at the drop of a hat, versus the average able bodied person. Though it is simple for me to write that in my Blog, it is far more difficult experience in life.

Anxiety, depression, pride, self compassion all contribute to emotions one feels. When I am alone with my thoughts during times of marked disease activity there is a wave of internal rage that washes over me. Anger as to why my life has turned out this way, anger for subjecting my family and friends to my inability to properly function, changing plans that perhaps had been made far ahead of when my symptoms unleash themselves. Many times I can keep these moments to myself, other times I may snap at my wife or children not realizing how I come across towards them. Then I get angry at myself over that. By simply walking away when I can for just 10 minutes of silence tends to help. Holding myself to account when it comes to physically demanding tasks and resting when I need to, or when I know I’m reaching my limits. This takes practice and time to realize. Fortunately I have a great support network in place through my family, friends (local and online) who gently remind me of taking time for myself.

There are a lot of resources out there to help, via online forums on Facebook, multiple websites to local events which are in person meetings. Many years ago I took part in an “Anger Management” course consisting of routine meetings over a number of weeks. It’s not what you may think, it was not a mandatory course, rather something to help me to manage these moments of high anxiety. I met people who had far less anxiety/ anger issues and many who had far worse. Upon completion of the course I realized just how much I could control my anxiety 90% of the time. I could use both sides of the spectrum of attendees to see how managing my own expectations can influence my emotions.

If you are always feeling “F.I.N.E.” I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and really search out and take advantage of outside resources. There will always be “F.I.N.E.” days, it is part of our lives. All we can do is try to control our reactions to these days and find solutions that work for us.

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4 thoughts on “F.I.N.E.

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  1. Dave, this is a wonderful post. I never saw the movie but the FINE definition sure resonates with me. I think it’s important that we recognize when we need a counselor or class (good idea) to help us process our feelings. I know I’m due for a visit now in spite of taking medication as evidenced by my tears at reading your post. your words could be mine and reading them make me feel less alone. Thank you for sharing. Sincerely, Marla

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It truly is a difficult subject for many people, myself included, I just wanted to share my thoughts and experiences.
      It’s so important that people understand mental health is equally as important as physical health.

      Thank you for your kind words Marla ❤️

      Like

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Chronically Grateful Me

Life is hard enough. Don't go through life with pain that’s keeping you clutching the steering wheel. Join me as I learn to deal with Adrenal Fatigue-Hashimoto’s- Hypothyroidism-OA- Osteonecrosis – Spondylolisthesis and how going to a mostly to a plant-based lifestyle and meditation helps my pain.

viola-et-cetera

Mein Alltag mit Höhen und Tieren

A Chronic Spoonful

Thoughts and stories from the world of chronic pain, illness, and disability

Poorly parents, mummy with MS

Being a parent and managing a chronic illness

Bethy Bright and Dark

My MS (Mis)Adventure

Diabetes Blog - Happy-Medium.net

Searching for the right balance between the highs and lows of diabetes

Jumbledbrain

Discover - Empower - Thrive

my oms life

mum, psychologist, researcher & overcoming MS with a new way of living through Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis lifestyle approach (OMS)

Beautifully Raw

Cultivating Wholehearted Living

Pain Pals

My family & friends living with me.....and chronic illness

The Little Cripple That Could

Being angry never solved anything

OCD meets MS

The ultimate battle. . .

Fightmsdaily

Living life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy. But I do my best to push through all the barriers this illness puts in front of me! In my heart and mind, I believe maintaining a positive outlook on all situations in life will carry us through to much better times! I hope you find the information that I provide both helpful and inspirational!

swanyriver

Swimming as hard as I can to stay afloat!

FibroFlutters - Chronic, Invisible and Rare Illness Support / Advice / Advocacy

FibroFlutters - Support Group for people with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, EDS/Hypermobility, Mental health, Chronic fatigue/Me, Rare & others offering friendship, support & advice in Sunderland, NE UK and across the globe

Chronically Grateful Me

Life is hard enough. Don't go through life with pain that’s keeping you clutching the steering wheel. Join me as I learn to deal with Adrenal Fatigue-Hashimoto’s- Hypothyroidism-OA- Osteonecrosis – Spondylolisthesis and how going to a mostly to a plant-based lifestyle and meditation helps my pain.

viola-et-cetera

Mein Alltag mit Höhen und Tieren

A Chronic Spoonful

Thoughts and stories from the world of chronic pain, illness, and disability

Poorly parents, mummy with MS

Being a parent and managing a chronic illness

Bethy Bright and Dark

My MS (Mis)Adventure

Diabetes Blog - Happy-Medium.net

Searching for the right balance between the highs and lows of diabetes

Jumbledbrain

Discover - Empower - Thrive

my oms life

mum, psychologist, researcher & overcoming MS with a new way of living through Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis lifestyle approach (OMS)

Beautifully Raw

Cultivating Wholehearted Living

Pain Pals

My family & friends living with me.....and chronic illness

The Little Cripple That Could

Being angry never solved anything

OCD meets MS

The ultimate battle. . .

Fightmsdaily

Living life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy. But I do my best to push through all the barriers this illness puts in front of me! In my heart and mind, I believe maintaining a positive outlook on all situations in life will carry us through to much better times! I hope you find the information that I provide both helpful and inspirational!

swanyriver

Swimming as hard as I can to stay afloat!

FibroFlutters - Chronic, Invisible and Rare Illness Support / Advice / Advocacy

FibroFlutters - Support Group for people with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, EDS/Hypermobility, Mental health, Chronic fatigue/Me, Rare & others offering friendship, support & advice in Sunderland, NE UK and across the globe

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