Balancing optimism and learned helplessness

By | Mon February 5, 2018

I find myself wondering – do I have reasonable expectations of what medical science and healthcare can do? At what point am I being overly optimistic? Or am I learning helplessness?

I have many chronic conditions, several that have been part of my life for a long time, others that were triggered by chemotherapy and cancer treatment. I find myself optimistic that some of my healthcare professionals will finally be able to get to the bottom of what is happening, and then we can find a solution. I am optimistic and hopeful that medical science and my healthcare team can make things better. But then I ask, do I have unrealistic expectations? Am I, yet again, setting myself up for disappointment. Perhaps if my expectations were lower, then I would be happier with the outcome – but then I ask myself, is that just me learning helplessness – is it me giving up when I should be fighting or working towards something better.

Living with chronic conditions is a constant battle between thinking that something can be fixed or improved, and learning to live with the issue – and figuring out which is the best path to take …

And so, I find myself wondering, am I being overly optimistic about what is helpful? Am I slipping down that slope of learned helplessness such that I should keep pushing, or should I step back and accept the current reality as one that cannot be fixed and learn to live with it?

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