5 Ways to Cope with a Lack of Control

Sometimes things happen that are out of your control and there’s not a lot you can do about it.This has been the case for me this past month and I’ve had to work at dealing with it.

One minute…

I was sat working at my desk, then a stabbing pain hit me in the lower back. As someone with chronic pain, my first thought was that it was just that but it soon because so bad I passed out and also vommed (ew). Luckily for me a lovely friend came and took me to A&E where they believed it was a kidney infection, gave me antibiotics and painkillers and sent me home. I thought that was it!

Predictable plot twist… it wasn’t.

The pain never went and the antibiotics made me so sick. When I saw a doctor for a check up he sent me straight to hospital for a CT scan, which after a wait in the surgical prep unit I had. I then had my first overnight hospital experience (woo) where I had a lovely nurse who was into k-pop music and was eventually told I had a blocked PUJ (the tube between kidney and bladder) and would likely need surgery. However, the tests they needed to do were booked in for a few weeks away and I’d have to pain manage in the meantime.

This is where I’ve struggled, I had to be signed off work, put on several painkillers including morphine and am totally housebound! I won’t lie, I’ve found it lonely and hard to have so little control but here are the things which have helped me the most…


There are many forms of meditation, whether you choose to use breathing exercises or make use of relaxing music. What’s important is you are making yourself stop. Setting some time aside each day or just when suits to calm down, center yourself and focus on things bigger than just you can be massively beneficial.

I recently reviewed the Thrive App which is great for this but Headspace is another great resource and I’m personally a huge fan of the Relax Melodies app which has meditation and relaxing music.

4.Gentle Exercise

At the moment I can’t walk around without being in pain and going up and down the stairs is hell. I’m normally fairly active and do pole dancing and the gym so this has been really difficult for me. I’ve found that I’m still able to do some gentle yoga without making the pain worse so try to do a little of that a day. It helps me so much mentally and physically to feel I’ve done something active, even if it’s not what I’m used to! Find something you’re easily able to do and help yourself feel good.

3.Seek Outside Support

I am a huge fan of talking therapies. Whether it’s phone counselling to keep things in order, CBT to tackle behaviour patterns or result based therapy, if it helps, it helps! There is no shame in realising you need help, if anything it’s a braver thing to say ‘hey this isn’t going so well’. It’s great to rely on friends but sometimes you need an outsider who can help teach you coping techniques.

Your GP can refer you for support or you can reach out privately or to a charity. If you urgently need to talk of course, there’s always Samaritans on 116 123.

2. Think ‘what can I do’

When you suddenly find yourself limited it’s very easy to feel ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I can’t do that’. Soon all you can think is how trapped you are and that’s incredibly frustrating. Right now I can’t do a lot of physical stuff or read properly due to the painkillers but I can watch things and I can listen to audiobooks. Think what is possible for you rather than what isn’t. Where can you make a compromise? What might be a new thing to try which you’re currently able to do?

1. Keep communicating!

Whether it’s on social media, the phone or having people come to visit, it’s so vital to keep in contact with your friends and family so you don’t end up feeling more cut off than ever. Finding yourself unable to leave your house or get on with your daily life can make you feel terribly lonely and disconnected

Don’t force yourself when you’re not up to it, but it’s so helpful to keep feeling part of the outside world and loved by those around you. I struggle with feeling guilty when I’m ill and speak to other people since I don’t want to burden them, but it honestly makes it worse to keep it all in, whether it’s your friends or someone professional, keep talking and working through.

I hope these ideas help and please feel free to share anything which has helped you in a bad time 🙂 Wish me luck with surgery!


Ruthy xo

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6 thoughts on “5 Ways to Cope with a Lack of Control”

  1. You are a beautiful person who I love very much. Yes, it’s very important to “stop”.
    Good luck with the surgery. I will be with you throughout

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