Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Self Interview

On my personal blog (The Road I’m On), I have a quote on the side bar that encompasses the approach I take to just about everything. It has been on there for the last three years and when I start to think I can’t do something I take a look at it so I remember why I push myself so hard.

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." --T. S. Elliot

There is only one other quote, that motivates me the same way. It has been on my fridge for the past four years:

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Between growing up with the stigma of having a learning disability and speech problems (both of which required me to attend special education classes for part of the day in elementary school), the family problems that have continued to interfere with my life, and the medical problems I deal with now I’ve always had to push myself just a little harder. If I didn’t I think I’d be a blob sitting on a couch in front of television wondering what I could have done had I pushed the limits. Instead, I’m where I am at today. Most of the readers of the blog know my story so I won’t repeat it (a brief bio is at the bottom of this post). I have more important things to discuss.

I use quotes to motivate myself. They serve as a huge kick in the butt for me, and they are extremely easy to find on the internet. It works for me, but I am an extremely self motivated individual. For some of you it can take a heck of a lot more so I think figuring out who you are, what your dreams are and what motivates and putting it on paper can help make the change you want to make (even if you aren’t sure what it is yet). It may seem like you are interviewing yourself for a job, but I promise you if you answer the questions you’ll get something from it. You may even want to do it today, and then revisit it in a few months to see what has changed.

Who am I? How do I think of myself? What are my strengths and weaknesses?            
Sometimes we define ourselves by our illnesses and forget about the other parts of our lives. Taking a good look at yourself is important, because you need to see you aren’t just a DTPer. You are a son/daughter, mother/father, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, friend and a member of your community.

Who do I want to be?
Seriously, who do you want to be? Not what you want to be, but WHO you want to be. It is a philosophical question, a deep one, but well worth the soul searching to get it on paper.

Why am I here? Why am I important? What is my mission?
This is probably the most important question a DTPer can ask them self.  A lot of time patients lose a sense of purpose when they get sick, and it can be one of the major factors leading to a falling into a serious depressive state. Everyone has a purpose, everyone is important to someone (their family, friends (including FB friends), dog/cat/bird/fish, God), and everyone can have a mission. You just have to figure out what your mission is. My mission? My mission is to help others by serving my community both in my professional life and my personal life, and providing leadership when it is needed.

What am I missing, and what can I do about it?
Patients, no matter what illness they are facing, are missing something. Friends and family tend to disappear. I am not going to sit here and say I know the answers to this one. I’m struggle with it too.

Am I afraid of making changes or of taking risks? Could I embrace change instead as an adventure?
No one likes change, and everyone is afraid of taking risks. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. Making small changes and making new changes every week will help reduce the anxiety that it may produce.
How can I build in support for myself?
Remember G-PACT’s Facebook groups. Everyone is there to lend an ear and give you support as you deal with things. If you want to change something, you might think about posting on a group and seeing if a friend wants to join you. Having a buddy to lean on as you make a change in your life is one of the best things you can do. Having one makes you less likely to fall back on old habits because someone is counting on you.

What am I doing in my life that's hurting me?
Be honest with yourself. Are you cheating and eating something you shouldn’t even though you know you’ll feel horrible after you do it? Are you taking more pain medicine or sleeping more than you need as a way to escape from your emotions? Are you placing unnecessary limitations on your life because you are afraid of failure?

What are the sources of joy I need to feel whole?
                You’ll have no problem with this one, I can almost guarantee it.

Am I happy?
Are you really happy? No? Why not? Look back at the previous questions and see if you can figure out what you need to change to be more joy in your life.
*About the author: Brittney Riley is G-PACT's public relations director, a patient, and a 4th year veterinary student at Iowa State University. To reach her please email her at rileyb(at)