5 Tips for Anxiety Surrounding Decision Making

Living with a chronic illness is really tough. Not only do you suffer from a very long list of physical symptoms, you may also have some psychological struggles too. I want to touch on something in today’s post that I, and I know many others suffer from, and that is anxiety. I particularly struggle with anxiety when there is a decision to be made. Since being poorly I find decision making almost impossible. I will spend hours and hours, going round in circles, and changing my mind about what the best option is; even really trivial things like what sized pyjamas to order. I’ve always been a bit indecisive, but Lyme disease has made it a lot worse.

Lyme is a tick-transmitted infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. The spirochetes cause inflammation and damage to the brain (and nervous system) hence sufferers often report brain problems such as indecisiveness, brain fog, difficulties in focussing and multi-tasking, memory problems, and more. So please be patient with us, it’s not our fault :)

Us spoonies (individuals who are chronically ill) are often faced with decisions about whether or not to make plans to go on a little trip out or plans to see friends/family. It’s not about whether or not we want to see the people close to us – I want nothing more than to spend lots of time with my family/friends; it’s about whether we think we will be well enough and how bad we think the ‘payback’ will be. And when we do make those plans, we then have to decide closer to the time/on the day, depending on how we feel, whether to go for it or cancel. So this is going to be a self-help kind of post – one that I can look back on, and hopefully those in a similar boat can benefit from too when faced with looming decisions such as these.

Decisions, decisions…

Here are 5 tips for dealing with anxiety around decision making;

1. The stress and worry is going to make you more ill so try to keep calm

I recently got myself very stressed/worked up when trying to decide whether I was up to seeing family or not, and in the end the decision making process – which took a couple of hours and lots of tears – made me a lot more poorly than seeing my family would have if I’d have just gone for it. It took me a good few days to recover from the stress. It is so important to try and remain as calm as possible as stress exacerbates symptoms dramatically – try doing some mindfullness or breathing exercises and then go back to the decision later. I am thinking of investing in an aromatherapy diffuser as they’re supposed to be very calming – has anyone tried one?

2. Take some time to get used to the idea if it is last minute

If something is sprung on you last minute, try not to panic. Take some time out and get used to the idea of something before panicking and making rash decisions. Once you come round to the idea, you’ll feel much better!

3. Remember that whatever you choose, nothing bad is going to happen. Focus on the positives, not the negatives. 

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When evaluating your options, try not to focus in on the negatives of each, look at the positives and see which outweighs the other. Sometimes when I am feeling particularly poorly I make the decision to still see friends/family as I know that, even though I’m probably not up to it, it gives me a boost and takes my mind off everything for a little while – a big positive!

4. Go with your gut and try not to rely on others to decide for you

Ask for others opinions but do not rely solely on them for reassurance. You need to be able to make decisions for yourself. Bringing others into it may cause frustration on their part and make you more anxious.

5. Once you have made a decision, don’t immediately dwell on it

I’m terrible for trying to find the negatives in the decision I have made and worrying I have made the wrong decision. Remind yourself that these kinds of decisions aren’t at all important in the grand scheme of things and will be forgotten about in a few days time. Look at the bigger picture :) Also know that worrying wastes valuable energy so try and distract yourself by thinking about only the present moment.

Be brave, make a decision and stick with it! You can do it! And don’t beat yourself up for being ridiculously indecisive, it’s the illness not you.

SS x           

1 Comment

  1. Polina March 23, 2016 / 5:35 pm

    Sophia, such an important theme to talk about and thank you for taking time and energy for writing this. It’s very useful for me and I’m sure – for many other people as well.

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