How to Deal with a Health Scare Using REBT

  1. I had a stroke. Reality is reality, not the way I think it has “got to” be.
  2. Although I keenly prefer not have a stroke, a preference does not equal a “got to.”
  3. Although I have extra financial and employment hassles with a stroke, that’s all I have—hassles, not horrors.
  4. It could be nice to have a respite from work, which would provide a longed-for break to make art and write a book or two.
  5. I have savings and pension income I am able to live on for life. I am able to take my time and do a really excellent job of rehab & recovery.
  6. Having a stroke could give me just the push that I have been lacking to take a chance on my dream—returning to my profession as an artist.
  7. Having a stroke has given me a golden opportunity to practice accepting misfortunes, rather than needlessly worrying about them.
  8. I can see, concretely, that even the worst-case scenario is not as bad as I had anticipated.
  9. Having a stroke, this is a bad situation, but it would not make me a bad or worthless person.
  10. I am more money-conscious, for example, move into a shared apartment, eat at home more, and buy a new car in five years rather than immediately. This would mean some deprivation, but I’ve survived deprivation before, and I will survive it in the future.
  11. The simple fact of having a stroke, by itself, can never disturb me. Only my bellyaching about it can do that.
  12. Even if I never get a job as well-paying the one I lost, I accept that and still considerably enjoy life, although I could enjoy it even more with a better salary.
  13. Having a stroke provides an opportunity to eventually get a position that may have certain advantages over this one: self employed so a more supportive boss, more friendly co-workers, less pressure, more interesting work, shorter commute times, less crowded work space, or potentially better pay.
  14. Pressuring myself saying I shouldn’t have had a stroke will not help me recover. Moreover, it could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more I demand this, the more stressed and distracted I get, and the worse I perform in my recovery.
  15. In the larger sense, health is temporary. Health changes, unemployment, and lost jobs are part of life.
  16. I started at “square one” at relearning to walk, I worked my way up out of the wheelchair and continued to improve.
  17. Everyone has significant discomforts, inconveniences, and hassles in life. This is part of the human condition. No reason exists why I have “got to” be exempt.
  18. It is a relief not to be so focused on competitive work and instead do contemplative art.

This is adapted from Dr. Michael R. Edelstein’s book Three Minute Therapy Chapter 2, on worry.