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When I was well, I once attended a staff development session where we were asked to list all the things in the world we'd like to change.
Then we were then told to place each thing either: inside our "Circle of Realistic Influence" or outside of it. The take-away message was that we were to forgive ourselves for not tackling those things outside of our personal circles.
Now that I think back on this session, it makes me realise just how much ME sufferers must draw tight circles around their lives - often pushing more and more things outside of that circle of influence.
In fact even looking at what we can cope with on a daily or weekly basis, shows how we need to "Let Go!" of some things that, before illness, we took totally for granted.
I expanded the concept of having a single circle and did this one for me and my ME.
The innermost circle shows the things that are basic essentials for life, and in truth probably represent the sum total that the very severely affected can manage.
The next two rings are more personal, and could change over time depending on current circumstances. I filled these in a few weeks ago when I made this graphic. I might make some minor changes were I to re-do it today.
Finally, I thought long and hard about what to call the outer circle. I didn't want to call it "Beyond My Ability" - even though that is really what the stuff there represents. So I thought "Aspirations" would be much better.
I think perhaps for some-one newly ill with ME an exercise like this might help them to let go of certain things without guilt. I remember early in my illness deciding that I had to totally let go of what happened to my garden. I could no longer tend it myself, nor could I ask family to keep it up they way I wanted. So I let it go.
One day perhaps I will be well enough to spread all my circles out again, so that my garden once more is tended as I would wish.
Other thoughts about coping with an energy-restricted life:
Managing Illness through Pacing;
Do you STOP soon enough? March 2015
Pacing and Unpredictable Events Sept 2014
"Play-Up & Lay-Up" not "Boom & Bust" Sept 2014
The Exercise Catch 22! Jul 2014
ME Awareness - Why NOT Exercise? May 2014
Thoughts on Travel and ME Mar 2014
The Dilemmas of Exercise and M.E. Dec 2013