Living with high impact chronic pain and Why do I self-sabotage?


I self-sabotage.  I do it all the time.  I know when I’m doing it…usually just after I’ve made a bad decision and its three seconds too late to change my mind.

My most recent self-sabotage is signing up for a undergraduate certificate in Health Coaching. 

I have done previous studies in health coaching, life coaching, nutritaion and meditation, but this certificate covers all those bases and gives me a piece of paper to say that I’ve studies these topics.  I want that piece of paper.


I fell for the oldest marketing ploy in the book.  “this may be the last time this course runs at this discounted rate!”

This is probably true. Also, the course is a quarter of its usual cost, genuinely.  And the entire cost can be deferred through the Australian student loan system.  So I had to pay nothing up front, I’ll just incur a debt that I don’t have to pay back until I’m earning over a certain threshold.

Most importantly of all, I love these subjects.  Meditation is very important to my pain management regime, I am passionate about nutrition and whole foods, and I love wellness.  REAL wellness. Not the social media variety that often has nothing to do with true wellness and everything to do with making money for a particular influencer.  A lot of “wellness” targets the sick and the vulnerable and is not very ethical at all.

But real wellness is not about treating disease. Its about taking actions and employing strategies to live your best life. For me, that doesn’t mean curing my disease or resolving all my pain. That’s not possible.  It does mean incorporating meditation, exercise, high quality nutrition, and a positive mindset. 

I used to be an informal health coach, helping a lot of people through some bad times.  I’d love to work professionally in the wellness industry, just not the kind of wellness that tells you to eat kale, think positive and you can cure any disease. I want to fight that kind of “wellness”.

In short, I really wanted to do this course.  The problem was that it can only be done full time, and it must be competed in the six months allotted. No extensions. No part time hours. 

Impulsively, I enrolled.

This was not smart.  There is no way I can manage full time study, plus run my business, plus manage my health and stress levels, plus take care of my kids.  Don’t even think about keeping the house clean!

Sometimes I still think that I can do anything if I want it bad enough. I know this is not true, I do know it.  But sometimes my optimism and my fervent WISH that I could do these things makes me push myself and dump myself in the shit. 

Self-sabatage.  Setting myself up to fail.

But there’s another reason. A deeper reason.

I had decided to work on my art, improve my skills and try to sell mandala stones.   Make money from my art. 

I’m not a skilled artist, but I love painting these stones.  They are all about colour.  Bright, vibrant, contrasting or complimenting.  The skill is in the placing of the dots, it takes a steady hand, and some days I can’t do that.  But some days I can.  it’s a meditative process. It takes many hours, but I enjoy the process. It is calming. Soothing.  About one in three come out well.  I need to keep working, keep practicing, and I ultimately hope to sell them. 

I had made this decision.  And then I signed up to a full-time university course.


Because I have no confidence in my art.  It the same as my book. I have decided many times that I am going to finish it.  So many times that I now have FOUR books that are almost finished. They need some editing, but they are mostly done.  I need to finish them write proposals and try to sell them.

But I have no confidence. So I don’t do it. I fill my time with other things to give myself an excuse for not working on my art, my writing.  My confidence, in every aspect of my life, has been completely shattered. I never had much confidence to begin with, but after I almost died in hospital, and not one person was there for me through my recovery (in fact most people attacked and/or bullied me) I lost all confidence in my self.  I had no self worth.  I mean, if no one cared if I died, I mustn’t be worth anything to anyone.

Thankfully I know my kids love me.  I have used that love to rebuild myself to a degree. The fact that my family are estranged, because my sister and a friend of mine carried about abullying campaign that my mother fell for, has made that difficult.  I don’t speak to anyone in my family anymore, because they treated me horrifically. That will become another book one day.

But when no one cares about you at all, no one turns up when you’re dying, it’s pretty soul destroying.  I have worked hard to become a functional, happy human again.  But there is still a big black hole where most people have self-love and self-worth.

I am terrified of putting everything into my art and my writing and being rejected. I have been rejected and abandoned so often, so deeply and so completely that if it happens again I don’t know if I’ll cope.

So I sabotage my book and my mandala stones by filling my time with university courses.

I need to stop this.  I need to have faith in myself and my abilities.  I need to accept that I still have worth, even if no one reads my book, or no one buys my art. 

And now I have to finish my university course as well.  As someone who was pressured to get straight As (a B was big trouble!) its hard for me not to get extremely stressed at tests and assessments.  I have to ty to just pass.  A pass is all I need. No high distinction or distinction. Just get above 50%. That’s ALL that’s required.  That’s all. 

I have contacted student support services and told them I am struggling with the work load, Im sure they will make accommodations. The courses are staggered – the first six weeks I only had two units. In weeks seven, the other two units started. The nutrition unit has a very high workload. After only two weeks, I was behind and in trouble. This week is ‘break’ week for the first two units. Next week its back to four units and that will continue for another six weeks. Then, the first two units will be finished and the last six weeks will just ben two units again. Because of that staggering, maybe I can do this. With help, with support, with excellent planning and a whole lot of luck. Most of all, if I stop putting so much pressure on myself.

It’s ironic that a large part of the wellness and meditation units is self-reflection and learning techniques to counter my own self sabotaging. Maybe I’ll make it through. We will see. But most of all, if I have to withdraw, I will NOT beat myself up for failing.

I will give myself credit for trying.



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