One of the things I used to beat myself up over was that certain things may "cause" a flare, or that it I flared, it was because I was doing something wrong.
I realise a lot of people feel this way and therefore try and eliminate the things that they feel are causing the flare. The popular ones on the forum right now are sugar and stress. People think if they eliminate sugar/stress from their lives, they won't flare.
The fact is, that in retrospect, although I believed this when I was going through TSW, I now see that it is a lot lore simple than that.
If you are in TSW, flares would happen, even if you ate a super healthy diet and spent every day relaxing on a lounger, served by an army of good-looking servants who appealed to your every whim.
Flares would still happen because they are a part of TSW.
I use the analogy of a wave. If a wave is coming. You can't stop the wave. Nothing you did caused the wave. The only thing you can do is prepare yourself to ride the wave. The wave will stop, another will come. You have no control over it.
Here is one of my favourite quotes from the forum, which sums up exactly how I feel about this subject:
Coffee causes flares, wine causes flares, chocolate causes flares. And on and on.
Here is what I've learned in 18 months:
Right now, for example, I am in a calm period. I drink a beer or two. (I don't get drunk as that limits consciousness, but that's neither here nor there.)
I drink beet juice (which vasodilates blood vessels). I drink coffee. No flares.
When in a flare, simply drinking water "caused" me to flare.
If everything causes you to flare, then nothing caused your flare.
"If you claim that coffee causes a flare, why?"
"Because I flared badly after drinking coffee."
"Does this mean when you eliminated coffee [or whatever the offending item was] that you never flared badly?"
"If you flared when not drinking coffee, how can you know that coffee causes a flare?"
"I just do!"
No, that is nonsensical thinking. It's a very common mistake in human thinking called a fundamental attribution error:
Makes sense logically, doesn't it?
But the mind plays tricks on people.
Over the past 18 months I've seen people claim that all sorts of things caused their flares.
Those same people then talk about how they are flaring.
But if you discovered the causes of your flares, how are you still flaring?
Again, logically we all know the answer.
Emotionally, it's harder to accept that we are not in control of this process.
I understand the need to try and create order out of the chaos, or apply rules and logic to the situation, but it seems that TSW breaks all of the rules. It is heartbreaking sometimes for me to see people trying different methods to eliminate the "cause" of their flares and then wonder why they are still flaring.
Acceptance is hard, but the moment we let go and accept that flares are part and parcel of the healing process, the easier it is to deal with.