Appreciating the little wins

One important life lesson I’ve learnt from my experiences with FOP is the importance of appreciating little wins. It is a lesson that has been continually reinforced for me, given the great uncertainties that come with having a progressive illness that can change at any moment.

Unfortunately, the regularity of my having accidents has increased in recent times, given that my movement has become much more restricted, and so I’m more unsteady and can’t put my arms out to protect myself. Again, this serves to confirm the importance of appreciating little wins whenever I can.

It’s something that doesn’t always come easy though. Sometimes, the difficulty lies in the fact that we’ve got bigger dreams, so it seems silly to celebrate little and seemingly inconsequential things. But more often than not, at least for me, it stems from a deeper sadness or anger that I have trouble shaking sometimes. I know it’s bad for me to dwell on negative thoughts for too long, and I know it’s not really productive being angry about things I can’t change. But sometimes, I get stuck in a negative spiral and I find it harder to pull myself out of it. And I don’t think this is something entirely unique to me. I know, from speaking with friends and family, that this happens to others – maybe it’s even happened to you.

I think it’s really important to try your best to see the silver linings in little wins. For me, after a fall I had a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been pushing myself a little bit more each day to get just a little bit further. First, it was making it to the sink to be able to brush my teeth. Then it was making it into the shower, after a week of bed baths. Next, it was making it out of my bedroom to the kitchen to make a smoothie for lunch. Yesterday was a big day – making it into the shower without assistance, putting on some proper clothes, and leaving my apartment for the first time in weeks to surprise my mum with a visit. Each of these took several more days to accomplish. And, in reality, they might not mean that much to someone else. But I felt a little prouder of myself each time I crossed one of these off my list of goals.

It’s been hard for me to appreciate these wins sometimes, as I’ve been stuck in bed most of the time, I’ve been in pain, I’ve been more tired than usual after spending much longer periods in bed resting; and I’m recovering from a fall which, unfortunately, means I’m also very worried about what lasting damage may have been done and if there will be any additional deterioration of my physical condition. One of the difficulties of FOP is that, sometimes, it seems like I take one step forward and two back.

Sometimes, we have to try really hard sometimes to put that smile on our face and tell ourselves “you know what, that is a really good effort and I need to pat myself on the back”.

Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash

If I can do it, so can you. It can feel so good when you pull yourself out of the downward, negative spiral. Bringing yourself even a small bit of joy by celebrating a little win is so important. I’m not saying it’ll be the most elated, overjoyed smile or your happiest moment. Maybe it’ll just be a little smirk, and a small ray of sunshine. But if it stops the spiral, even temporarily, it’s worth it to try.

So give it a go. If you try something new and it works, celebrate that win for yourself. Set yourself some new, small goals to achieve and pat yourself on the back when you achieve each one. And try, each time, to keep that smile on your face a little bit longer.

Trust me, you can do it.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

18 thoughts on “Appreciating the little wins

  1. Wise words Ollie. I’m in the middle of a never-ending jaw flare, and the small wins are so important at the moment. It might seem easy to others but FOP is unpredictable and this adds to the worry. Hope you are getting better soon.

    1. It can be hard when the flare ups seem endless. It helps knowing there are others out there, in the FOP community, who understand exactly what we’re going through and really understand this fear of the unknown. Hope you get better soon too!

  2. Ol you never cease to amaze me especially now with your blogs
    I really love reading all your thoughts and how you face and get past difficulties.
    Such great writing. Keep it up xxx

    1. Thanks so much grandma! So glad you are enjoying them and finding them helpful ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Ollie well done, that is huge that you were able to surprise your mum like that! You have written some inspirational words there. Well done.

    1. Thanks so much for reading, and for your comment Kath! Yes it felt very special to be able to put that smile on her face

  4. Thanks Ollie. Your posts always ground me and make me look at how the taming of my mind to be positive needs a lot of work. Thank you for your wisdom and perspective. Hope this flare up is small and things improve. Great writing. Anticipating the next one! 🙏

    1. Thanks so much Lisa! 🙏 So glad you are getting something out of these posts 😊 hope you and the clan are all keeping well!

  5. Ollie I know that fall was a huge setback for you . I am so glad to see you have been able to get out again .I enjoy reading your writings .

  6. Dear Ollie I can only imagine what an effort that was to get yourself ready and leave your home for the first time in months- but I do know what it meant to your darling Mum to see you out and about- how seeing you turned a very stressful week into joy. You are one amazing human being and I draw inspiration from reading your blog to stay positive and to keep my glass half full- with gratitude x

  7. You should be very proud Ollie. You may struggle physically, but your mental strength is incredibly powerful – especially to be able to turn your thought processes around from the negative spiral, to celebrating those small wins and looking for the joy in life. You are brilliant 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment Ash! It can be so hard sometimes, but if we look hard enough we can all find some joy 😊

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