Three Ways to Ensure Bladder Leaks Don't Sink Your Self-Esteem
Bladder leaks can shake your confidence and leave you feeling out of control. This unwelcome condition conjures up a lot of emotions, from grieving the loss of your lifestyle as you knew it to feeling angry and envious of people who do not have to worry about wearing protection 24/7.
It can also shake your self-esteem. "Who am I if I can not control a basic bodily function?" you may wonder. "What will happen if my loved one or my friends find out?" You may even feel like you are the only person in your circle of friends, family and acquaintances that has ever suffered withincontinence. (In fact, you are far from alone. Sixty-six million people in the United States experience some type of incontinence.)
An individuals unique reaction to incontinence is affected by their basic personality traits. If you are naturally an optimist, you may adjust emotionally to your condition more quickly. If you are an extrovert, you may be more comfortable sharing your condition with others and seeking support. Though no matter what your personality style is, there are things you can do to get back to a positive mindset and an active life.
Manage Your Thoughts: According to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, people think, on average, 70,000 thoughts a day, every day. How many of those thoughts are positive? Only about 20 percentage for most people. And up to 95 percentage of our daily thoughts are repetitive. Fortunately, we all have the ability to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones and it gets easier with practice. What if, when you felt your self-esteem plummet, like you were "less than" someone else because you suffer from incontinence, you replaced that thought with something more optimistic? For example, "I am proud of how I am managing my condition. I won not let it stop me from living my life."
Become an Acceptor Instead of a Victim: It is really easy to think, "Poor me. I am stuck with bladder leaks and I can not do anything about it," which could be labeled as "victim thought." It leaves you feeling sad and unmotivated. What if you looked at the reality of your incontinence in a more powerful way? An example of a thought that supports acceptance would be, "This is what is and once I learn to manage it, it will get easier."
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: You may be afraid of people discovering your urinary incontinence when you go on vacation or step out for an evening with your friends. Consider that in most cases fear is just a type of thought. What if you went ahead and did what you fear? If you choose to stay home because you are afraid you might leak, you will be reinforcing your fearful thoughts. If you step past it and do what you are afraid to do, you will train your brain that that fear was unfounded and it will inevitably dissipate.
What about you? What have you done to ensure that urinary incontinence does not negatively impact your self-esteem?