I've never been very good at letting people tell me what to do. In fact, whenever possible, I try to be on the opposite side of things - giving the orders rather than taking them. But when you're sick, you often find yourself in a rather vulnerable state, forced to listen to the advice and opinions of those around you. You try and remember that others are trying to help, but sometimes you simply can't stomach one more suggestion on what you should (or could) be doing to stay healthy.
Over the course of my pregnancy, many kind and caring people reminded me not to do too much, particularly when I had a touch of sciatica toward the end. In that case, I welcomed advice from those who had suffered from it before, primarily because I was desperate to find a way to alleviate the pain. However, I discovered that I was much more receptive to the advice when it involved a proactive, positive approach to my problem rather than a restrictive, conservative view. Let me explain:
When I asked for advice on the sciatica - I got one of two responses. People either said, "try to be more conscience of the way you're moving, and concentrate on eliminating movements that aggravate the nerve" or they said, "stay off your feet and don't do anything." You can guess which suggestion I gravitated toward (the former, of course) - and here's why:
It gave me something to think about and work toward, as if I could control the pain if I just focused on it. It made me think I could still be productive despite my ailment, giving me hope and building up my mental strength and courage to combat the problem.
The latter just made me feel like a victim, as if I was at the mercy of the pain and there wasn't anything I could do but sit back and let the pain get the best of me. Of course, the advice to just sit and do nothing wasn't wrong - it just wasn't encouraging. And don't we all need a little encouragement when we're under the weather?
Giving credit where it's due - my Dad was one who gave me the encouragement I needed during the worst days of my sciatica. Thanks, Pop, and keep those positive thoughts coming!