Dieting with Obstacles - How do you stop being bitter?

View Full Version : How do you stop being bitter?

01-29-2009, 02:34 PM
I'm going through a bitter phase this week. I'm not sure why, but it happens every once in a while. I'm just bitter about being sick and such. I think that part of this is that I'm seeing a new allergist week, and that he's going to confirm a lot of things that I would rather not be true.

What really got me is last night, I was watching my recorded biggest loser, and they've been showing lots of the contestants being able to stop taking their medicines. I still want to lose weight and get healthier, but I'm never going to be able to stop taking my medicines, regardless of how much weight I lose. And it's just making me bitter.

I know that other people have things worse, and that just makes me feel worse about being bitter. I'm 25 years old and on 7 daily prescriptions, with a cabinet full of PRN meds...and it's going to be this way forever. Grr.

So how do you get out of the bitter/it isn't fair mood?

01-29-2009, 03:04 PM
I look around me and see a lot more people who are worse off than I am. I take 11 medications a day. I am glad to be alive and able to go about my daily tasks. I have year round allergies that have improved tremendously since I had 5 years of desensitizing shots. I'm just thankful there are medications available that help me. You might try doing some volunteer work at a nursing home or hospital.

01-29-2009, 03:04 PM
I went through this when I had to go onto disability. Most of my life I never worked just one job, I always either worked full time and had a part time job or worked part time and went to school full time, or worked full time and went to school part time. Cutting back to "just" one job was a hard enough transition, going to no job, and being a virtual prisoner in my body on my bad days, really whapped me upside the head in a lot of ways. Not "knowing" what was going to happen was the worst (I have fibromyalgia and an autoimmune disease that doesn't have a name yet, because it hasn't done enough organ damage to be identified, apparently many autoimmune diseases are identified by the pattern of organ damage they do).

I had a FIL (he passed away last year) who had and a MIL who has much more serious health problems than I have or will ever have. My husband inherited his mom's bone and joint disorder, so he's probably in for a lot more pain and health problems than I will ever have also, so for me that puts it in perspective for me. It's not hard to feel lucky when people around you have it worse. Sure I still can get into a "why me" funk, but I remind myself "why not me," the fact is crappy stuff happens to good people all of the time, and everyone has to deal with what they have to deal with, whether it's small or big.

I tend to look at it as I've had to recalibrate "normal." My life really isn't any worse than anyone else's, not really, I just have different challenges and a different "normal." There are certainly entire countries of people who have it much worse than I have it. I mean there are countries in which having a clean place to sleep is a sign of wealth and prosperity. You can always find people who have it worse than you do, who consider themselves lucky. You can also always find people who have it better than you, who are bitter about what they don't have. You can be grateful for what you have, or you can be bitter about what you don't. A bit of it is out of your control, but you learn mostly it is a choice, how you choose to look at yourself, lucky or cursed?

01-29-2009, 03:07 PM

I really like this writing...although I need to read it daily the last couple of weeks...

01-29-2009, 03:36 PM
I'd like to point out that, while others may have it worse, you have a right to get mad at your situation. Sometimes, in my opinion, we feel so guilty that we're mad about the situation that was hem and haw and pout about it, but if we'd say "it's ok to get mad about this", get mad, and deal with the emotions, we'd be able to work through it better and not just get bitter about it. Just because some people have it worse it doesn't mean that your stuff doesn't suck too! I have a child that had some health issues. I was MAD! Not at him, of course, but at the world! And everyone kept telling me "It could be worse" or "count your blessings, he's going to be ok eventually". It wasn't until a friend said, "wow, you must be p*ssed off to have to deal with all of this at once" that I felt like someone finally was giving me permission to be mad. Once I got mad, I got over it. We don't need permission to get mad, but I think that sometimes (again in my opinion) that as women we aren't really "trained" on how to deal with anger. I have actually been told "mad isn't pretty". It's OK to get mad, it's ok to think it sucks, and it's ok to throw a mad fit. Once you know what emotion you're really dealing with, I think it's easier to actually deal with it. Good luck to you, and take some of that anger out on the treadmill or take a kickboxing class!

02-01-2009, 11:48 AM
Firstly what you are going through is perfectly normal. It is part of the grieving process. Though I hear you say "I have not lost anyone close to me". The grieving process you are going through is mourning for the person you once were. You eventually do get to the point of acceptance though for each person it takes time.

I was devastated when my MS took away my beloved nursing. Why me? I take care of people not the other way round. I stupidly thought being a nurse gave you immunity from all ailments. Don't know what planet I was on at the time ;) I went through the rolleracoaster of emotions from being sad, crying, anger, bargaining ( with god saying I will be good etc) to eventually acceptance.

I came to acceptance when I realised that being angry, sad and tearful was not getting me anywhere fast and i was wasting my precious time. ( I was walking and that may not be the case in a few months, weeks, years). I see that there are people worse off than myself I count my blessing that I am able to walk (with help now), I can do my own housework (OK so it takes me heaps longer and I need help with one or two things but that is my normal now) and most importantly I have a loving ,caring wonderful DH and great support from my family.

I have to take 6 medications daily in an ideal world I would not be taking any but without them I would not have the quality of life that I do. The likeihood is as my condition progresses I may have to have more medication but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. For now I live life to the fullest each day and appreciate what I have. You will get to this point at some time it just takes time to get here.

02-01-2009, 12:43 PM
Thinking about others having it worse made me feel better, and I guess it made me feel so much better I didn't even notice that you had said doing so makes you feel worse. I'm sorry that I went on and on about it, after you specifically said it made you feel worse. I feel like a complete (insert expletive of your choice).

For me, getting mad and being angry was the easy part. I knew I had every right to feel like crap and didn't have to apologize for it. I hadn't thought about feeling as if you weren't entitled to be upset, or feeling guilty for doing so. And I should have, because it's right there in your post. For the most part, I gave up guilt a long time ago, because I'm not sure more than a twinge of guilt is productive. If you'd forgive someone in your situation, you need to be able to forgive yourself (and in this case, I don't think there's anything to forgive - your life is legitimately painful, and acknowledging the pain before moving on is a normal part of the process).

Grieving and emotional recovery is just part of the process with a chronic illness. No one can tell you the right way for you to go through it (though many will try). And it's not that they (er, we) are wrong, it's just that we can just describe our own process or what we might imagine the process to be if we were in your situation. But even folks in a similar situation, can't really tell you how you have to do it, or how long it will take, or whether it will be a fairly linear process or one full of ups and downs.

My FIL that I mentioned, was the most compassionate man I ever met. If anyone should have told me "Quit your moaning, you think you've got problems" it would have been him. Instead, he always asked me how I was doing, and what the doctors had said about what was going on with me. I'm not sure that I would have such easy compassion for someone with problems I see as much smaller than my own. It's not that I'm heartless, I just don't think I'd always be able to do it, and I don't think it's wrong not to be able to, but his compassion did teach me that no matter how bad a day I'm having, I can still have compassion and hope for myself and sometimes even for others too.

I think there are alot of ways to deal with the negative feelings, and none of them is right or wrong. If it's something that just as you said happens once in a while, I wouldn't really worry about it too much (again, if I were you, which I'm not). If it's preventing you from healing or enjoying life most of the time, maybe then it's something to try to change (the how, well that's going to be unique to you, just like finding the path to weight loss).

Again, I'm really sorry for lacking in compassion with my advice.

Thighs Be Gone
02-01-2009, 12:54 PM
Janal, a friend mine always tells me that the problem with a pity party is that no one else really wants to come. I try to remember this when I think over my own issues. I try to give thanks several times a day for the things I have in my life that are true blessings. I sometimes am thankful to my HP for the littlest things like the way my bathroom cleaner smells, my bra fits well, the sky is especially blue, I met a new person that was really cool or whatever. It has made such a difference in my own life.

There is a song downloaded on my IPOD that talks about being thankful for the things you do have--I think it's by Rihanna. Anyway, try to be happy for what you do have and help someone less fortunate. This is a sure fire way to remember your blessings.

02-01-2009, 12:56 PM
Part of my own greiving process was that I found I had to stop trying to be happy go lucky. I had to be irrational for awhile.. irrationally angry and bitter.
Sometimes all you can do is process why you're feeling what you're feeling and educate yourself about the grieving process/find others who can affirm where you are. Counselling is great if you can get it. My first counsellor (who I was angry at for a very long time) told me that 'I needed to feel what I was feeling.' (she was kinda playing God there so it bugged me.. ah well)

Wanting to stop being bitter is good. Ultimatly it's a choice (for me it was a choice of quality of life. stay angry and bitter or move on and be healthier). Move on - it's so much better!

02-05-2009, 09:10 AM
Thanks to everyone for the advice...I do think that what I probably need to do is to get mad about it for a bit...but for whatever reason, I'm out of the bitter phase, so I'll wait until I get one again (if I do) and just run through the rage then...

It just seems to come in phases, sometimes I don't care all that much, and other times I'm just really annoyed. I'm hoping the good phase lasts.

02-06-2009, 11:21 PM
I really recommend the book
The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics by Arthur Frank.

I pick it up every time I am feeling bitter and depressed and just feeling that things are fair, not coping well, etc.

My problem is one of feeling helpless, I think, because I have to deal with being sick all the time, feeling like crap, and taking a lot of medications. I don't like depending on medications, it's the lack of control in my life that bugs me, not just the feeling sick.

I was hospitalized a while last month, and while I have my better and worse times, I actually got angry when people would tell me to "get well soon"! because I know that many of my health problems won't ever REALLY go away, and I was just in a very bad place emotionally.

02-19-2009, 03:49 PM
Just wanted to thank everyone for their posts. I don't know if I go thru bitter phases but sometimes I do go thru "why me?" phases. My health situation is what it is and I try to look for positives wherever I can in life. Seems to help. Thanks again for all the thoughtful insights.

02-19-2009, 05:02 PM
:hug: For the 'WHY ME' question, I remind myself that there are many other people in this world worse off than me: I have a good income and savings, good food, nice clothes, a cozy warm home, nice furniture, a comfy bed, a good husband, a lovely furry buddy, all my needs and most wants taken care of, plus family and friends that love and care about us.

Then, about 3 years ago, I started a GRATITUDE FILE: about once a week, I write down all the good things that happened in that week and all the blessings that have come our way. I was shocked by how many blessings come our way that we forget about in the busyness of life. My file goes on for pages and pages: and whenever I'm down even a bit (or just to remind myself), I go in and reread it. I always come away refreshed and so thankful.

My health issues were the hardest to accept, but reciting 'THE SERENITY PRAYER' which was given to me by a family friend, named KAY, who had MS has meant the most to me. I have this prayer on a glass plaque hanging in my kitchen ...


GOD grant me the Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change

The Courage to change
the things I can ...

And, the Wisdom to
know the difference!

Lastly, I learned to live ONE-DAY-AT-A-TIME; and not to worry about down the road, or ten years from now, or the rest of my life BUT to focus on today ~ this second, of the next minute, of the next hour, of this day! That has helped me deal with my health issues the most ... :hug:

Happy Canuk
02-19-2009, 07:07 PM
Yes, there certainly are people in this world worse off than me, but that doesn't mean that I don't count as well. I had a 10 yr disability, from which I have recovered enough to work as a casual. I can't just go out and do any job, but there was something I could do, and I am much happier doing it.

Try to find something to be happy about each and everyday. It isn't hard. Look at the beauty around you, listen to the laughter of children, or the giggle of a baby. There are TONS of things that CAN make you happy, but you have to choose to be. Bitterness does nothing, but make you feel worse. The stress causes more pain in your body and if you are depressed as well, well that just can't be good.

I am glad that you have found a way out for now. Keep at it. You are young to have these problems, but it is the luck of the draw. I was 29 when mine started and have now made it into my 60's. Life goes on.

02-19-2009, 08:44 PM
Someone said something once that really sunk it and I keep trying to remind myself of it every time I feel a pity party coming on. We choose how we go through life...negative or positive. Regardless of what your daily challenges are, it's still your choice to be positive or negative in how you deal with it. And that means you do have control over feeling happy or miserable. Every morning when you get out of bed, you choose which way you are going to deal with the day.

But that does not negate the fact that anyone suffering a loss will have to go through all the stages of grief, and if you block one stage, you may never get through them you will have to experience the sadness and the rage and all the other emotions that eventually lead to acceptance and healing. You don't want to get stuck in one of the early stages of grief and spend the rest of your life there. If you can't get through it on your own, it's not wrong to seek some help.

02-19-2009, 10:23 PM
Seeing my attitude as a choice rather than an outside force, I think really is what I'm talking about. It's not really the knowledge that some folks have it worse - because just that knowledge doesn't inherently make me feel good (and it shouldn't). After all, if I feel guilty for not realizing that I'm lucky, what kind of jerk feels happy that some people have it worse. Shouldn't that depress me further, knowing that the world sucks so bad that I'm supposed to feel lucky.

I realize that I have gone through that - where the thought that there are people suffering far worse than I am, got me thinking about their problems. So now I was just bitter for myself AND all those other people.

And I think that what recidivist said really hit home with me, what my change was. It wasn't in considering myself luckier than anyone else as much as generically considering myself lucky (despite the evidence I could have used to prove otherwise). I choose (more often than not, I still go through funks) to focus on what I CAN do and enjoy and try very hard not to let what I can't do depress me, because then I get robbed of joy two ways. In what I can't do, and in how I feel lousy about what I can't do. It's about choosing the best "Plan B" that I can.

It's not as easy to depress me as it once was. It took practice to see the good luck in some things. One I still can't wrap around is my autoimmune disease. It's left scar tissue on my lungs, has eaten a quarter-sized hole through my septum (and all the "known" autoimmune diseases that do that are lethal without treatment) and has caused periodic outbreaks of a hideous weepy, crusty impetigo like rash on my face (or as my husband so graphically puts it "face rot"). There's a lot of bad news in there, and part of it is good news. In autoimmune diseases for which there are no specific tests (unless it's known to be inherited and a parent has the disease - I'm adopted and have no medical information on bio family), then the disease is diagnosed based on the pattern of organ damage. So in essense, I probably have a disease that is lethal without treatment, but the side effects of treatment are so bad that I can't get treatment until there's proof of more severe ongoing organ damage to prove I really have the disease. So, I'm supposed to wait around for organ damaged because there's an outside chance that I might be in remission (lucky) or that I never had an autoimmune disease because I lied about never having snorted cocaine (a non-autoimmune cause of septal deterioration) never smoking (a non-autoimmune cause of lung scarring) and well I have no idea if there are nonautoimmune cause of face rot. I know, but doctors don't, that I didn't lie so I have to cling to the possibility that I might be in remission.

It doesn't feel like a gray cloud as much as the hot breath of some invisible dragon. That's the one that can really, really creep me out and make a good day terrible if I allow it. I don't know why, but knowing the name of the beast, would be easier, but it's not like I want to experience organ damage just to get a name (but there are times that I wish it, as crazy as that is).

I guess I just don't want that lousy dragon ruining my life. If I sit and think about what may happen or even what probably will happen, I lose out on enjoying today. Today has been a mildy bad fibro day. No correct that, this evening has been a mild flare. I had energy today, so I went out with hubby doing errands, and probably overdid it. My skin hurts. It's a mild flare so it doesn't feel like sunburn (a bad flare can feel like having been hit by a truck and having a full body sunburn on top of it, even with pain meds.) So this afternoon, I felt like my skin hurt and I just couldn't get warm enough, even though the apartment must have been warm (hubby had taken his shirt off, which usually is a sign that I've bumped the thermostat up too high trying to get warmer). The best I can explain it is like when you know you're coming down with a really terrible flu, but haven't gotten any severe symptoms (yet). So, I took a nap and turned on the electric blanket.

In many ways, I've become a much happier person the worse my life has gotten (friends, family, and aquaintences think I'm nuts, and I probably am). It's not that I was miserable when I took my health for granted - but I was on autopilot a lot. I was always working and saving or putting things on hold for "later." It wasn't that I was suffering at all, I just wasn't sucking much enjoyment out of life, because I assumed I'd have time for that later.

People get hit by proverbial busses every day. Even healthy, young lives can be cut short with accidental or unexpected death. I'm not saying we shouldn't plan for the future, but there's much to be said for seizing the day when you can.

In some sense, I think I'm trying to make up for lost time. It was very frustrating to know that I prepared so long for a life I may not (ok, probably will not) have. All the overtime and working on career and education development that was swept away in disability and resulting bankruptcy - even the education itself some days I feel robbed of (I have cognitive problems with the fibro - things that I took for granted like spelling ability and a near photographic memory are gone. It may be temporary or it could be early signs of something that causes senility - another unamed dragon, or perhaps the same one).

I'm not trying to draw pity - because I don't have any for myself. It's just amazing what a person can "get used to," and still enjoy life under. On my very worst days, I'm not much use to anyone, including myself, but I can't let that happen very often or I would have no life at all. I suppose I feel that I cannot afford bitterness. While completely natural and normal, I refuse to rob myself of joy. I still get bitter, depressed, and even angry but it's never prolonged. It's like I have an inner voice that says (ok, you've got twenty minutes, rant and rave all you want, but just for twenty minutes, then we've got to find something FUN to do).

Usually I take a lot less than 20 minutes, because I want to get on to that fun thing I've planned for myself. Sometimes I don't have enough energy for my plan B, so I have to go on to plan C or D, but I've not run out of alternatives yet (so far my worst case scenario plan isn't too terrible - crawling into bed with the heating blanket and a book or movie).

Don't feel guilty for feeling bitter, but don't let the dragon rob you of joy either.

02-20-2009, 04:54 PM
Yes, no-one is glad that anyone else has to suffer; that's a given. They are not one and the same: my blessings don't negate my suffering, pain, or grief (NOR THEIRS). I still had to grieve the good health I no longer had; the good memory and the good eye sight; and the ability to walk well. I take nothing for granted anymore ... and I do stop and smell the roses!!!

I now see all the beauty in this world (and this is a huge blessing) in a much more magnified way: green is greener, blue is bluer, pink is more vivid. It's hard to explain but like KAPLODS says, I now enjoy life more. I believe (for me) that GOD showed me how to LIVE BETTER and MORE FULLY than ever before. I appreciate every little blessing and gift and benefit; I am more grateful; and more contented; and more satisfied with my life now. How amazing is that?

Why did it take illness for me to see life in such a positive way? I think it's like this ... YOU CAN ONLY SEE THE STARS WHEN IT'S DARK! In the light of day, they are hidden (when things are going well and easy); when things are a little tougher, the stars shine brighter!

As a matter of fact; I see other people's needs even more now. I see just how blessed I am; and how I can do something to help those who are less fortunate than me. It was like someone turned a light on in my mind. It's kinda like a reflection of opposites. It doesn't matter what it is; as long as it helps us to get through, to have hope, and then we can move on, and help others along the way.

Yes, there is a choice to be made: you can either stay stuck in the mire of self-pity and bitterness, or pick yourself up, dust yourself off; and move on to a bright, new future. Yes, it will be different, but it will be better ...

Just this morning a friend and I were discussing how so many people think that others have it so much easier or better than them; but the truth is they don't! This is the truth: Life IS Fair -- WE ALL HAVE TROUBLES!

Hence, this popular saying ~ Be a little bit kinder to everyone you meet today; because EVERYONE is fighting some kind of battle!