Much of therapy is predicated on the notion that things can get better, and focuses on how to make that happen. There are some situations, however, where the challenge is, instead, to find a way to live with an un-changable reality in a more skillful way. Many illnesses are now viewed as chronic conditions to be managed, rather than acute conditions requiring a cure. Cancer can be among these, as are Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and many others. Additionally, any number of events can leave a person in a condition of pain unlikely to ever go away. How can you live well with these realties? How can you effectively protect yourself from allowing your physical issues to consume all your energy and attention?
Learning to live well within the limitations of your particular situation requires conscious, skillful choices and clarity about priorities. Your front-row seat to vulnerability can prove an asset, as it mandates that you differentiate between the things in life deserving your attention from those that do not. The kind of mental discipline and emotional clarity required to carve out a quality life alongside real limitations facilitates a deep wisdom and maturity. In our experience, practices of mindfulness and meditation are invaluable in this process. Our Madison therapists will work with you to develop your list of adaptations that make space in your life for the things you value. These usually include regulating drug and alcohol use, exercising, committing meticulously to a sleep schedule, refraining from activities that diminish quality of life, establishing a gratitude practice, spending quality time with people who care about you, and practicing good, deep breaths all of the time. Let us help you hone your skills and find your way to live through your illness or pain, rather than letting it live through you.