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Woman turning off the light and leaving her kitchen where there is a platter of unhealthy food

Throwing Away My Pity Party Platter

We have all, at some point in our lives thrown ourselves a pity party. In fact, it is perfectly normal to feel sorry for ourselves when dealing with a difficult situation or in our case being beaten down by an unforgiving chronic illness.

Living with multiple chronic illnesses has prompted me to throw quite a few pity parties. Some were small intimate gatherings, while others were full-on ragers that lasted far too long.

Party girl

The bad part about throwing frequent pity parties is that they become a way of life. Even after I find the exit and leave the party, it is just a matter of time before I throw another.

I have thrown myself pity parties for being bedridden because of chronic pain, illness, surgery and injury recovery, frustration over not being able to do something like I used to or having to ask for assistance, and so on…

Feeling sorry for myself became familiar. Later, after I began to recognize that I was becoming a pity party princess, I realized that I had made feeling pitiful part of my coping and recovery process.

Party games

As I examined my parties, I noticed a common theme. My parties were all about comforting myself. This wouldn’t be so bad had it not been for what I was finding comfort in.

While it is okay to feel let down or frustrated, it is not okay to harm ourselves. But that is exactly what I have been doing. Since my diagnosis of fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis in 2003, I have been comforting myself with food. I was tiny when I was diagnosed. Then frustrated by the realization that there was no cure, failed by medication that was supposed to reduce my pain, and not knowing where to begin figuring out how to live with said pain sent me straight to the pantry and fridge!

As you can guess, I gained weight. Not just a little, but a lot.

Occasionally my PsA would go into remission and I was able to exercise and take off a few pounds. But then I would flare again or sustain an injury and go right back to comforting myself with food.

My gift

I am currently walking away from my latest pity party. I wish I could say that it was quick and that I left without incurring any damage, but that would be a lie. My latest party cost me the weight I lost before being slammed with bronchitis, costochondritis, and broken ribs.

The gift was waking up one day and realizing that the very foods that I was finding comfort in were actually hurting me. Not just physically, but emotionally too. It was on that day that I said no more.

As I write this I am still on bed rest for my broken ribs. However, I have thrown away my pity party platter and have found joy in eating foods that are better for me. I may have regained everything I lost before this realization, but I am on my way to returning to my former weight even though I am currently unable to exercise.

My hope is that I remain aware and do not allow pain and frustration to become an excuse to abuse my body in the future. In fact, I plan on printing out this article and putting it on my refrigerator as a reminder.

What kind of games do you play at your pity parties?

How do you balance allowing yourself to feel sorrow and frustration without hurting yourself?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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