It is true – it IS a psychological syndrome! who knew! I shouldn’t be cynical – I am still a psychologist.
The story of how the poor amphibian was enjoying its tepid bath and stayed so long it didn’t notice the water getting hotter and hotter until it was boiling alive, is also termed a ‘parable’ by Wiki wonderland. If the frog was thrown into the boiling water it would jump out.
This syndrome or parable came to my mind when I realised that I was having health and well-being issues again. I didn’t see how bad it had become till I was struggling enough to call a halt and shout help so I could ‘rehab’ my self and my life.
It was just easier for me to just keep going enough to manage the stresses and strains of impending relocation, possible retirement, spouse’s health issues, adult children needing support, poorly grandchildren. I had already stepped down from one on one counselling or coaching so at least in that I had identified I wasn’t functioning at the level I had been.
Changing seasons in the UK mean changing the type of clothes you wear. The cottons and linens get put away or kept somewhere on hand in case of a winter sun getaway. Sandals make way for boots and heavy shoes. It was the fitted winter clothes that were far too tight around the middle that alerted me to exactly how much my girth had increased.
Most of us know these days that a real ‘baddie’ is fat round your middle. Even when I was thinner I didn’t have much of a waist but when even jeggings get hard work to put on… well….
I know the theory of healthy living. I watch documentaries, have studied the biological basis of psychology, human physiology. I have been a returner to a certain weight watching program, counting whatever points they say I should. The latter has changed over the years as updated research on weight loss suggests different balances for proteins, fats and sugars can assist in losing the pounds.
It is the stress and pressure that sends me into the mindset of ‘survival at all costs mode never mind the flippin’ points and I havent got time to go to the loo let alone exercise’. Just bring on the tea and cake – now! I need to keep going…
It is generally agreed that some stress is good. I have known someone get ill from a kind of boredom sickness. No motivation and not enough to interest them in life. I know that we get good input from being active and gaining achievements. I am also aware that that needs to be balanced with feeling connected, being a part of something and giving yourself comfort and care.
This balance is very well described by Paul Gilbert, who wrote The Compassionate Mind and Compassion Focussed Therapy. Likewise, ‘moderation in all things’ is one of those quotes where “I hear what you are saying” but struggle to implement the concept in my life.
I am just not designed that way. I have a neurodiverse profile, a quick mind, I see things in insights, am better at leaping forwards towards a perceived outcome than following a process. I take it up with God on a regular basis: “You made me this way!” He smiles back and almost winks, “Yes, but I didn’t design the lifestyle you have apparently chosen.”
Did I choose the way I have been living, or, like my poor friend the frog, did I just let it get hotter and hotter till it was scalding me?
In moving house, as well as all my books and papers, I can see that I have brought my “stressed lifestyle” choices with me.
I have more things to sort out post move, but not things or stuff. Rather, what choices and habits do I keep and what do I dump? What needs a fresh approach, a change of mindset?
These questions are all part of the ‘rehab’ process… and I need to remember it is a PROCESS. I cannot leap to the end but will walk the path step by step, seeking to enjoy each one.
Enjoy your path and journey! See you later …