What a year 2014 has been thus far, and we still have a few months left of it! It’s been filled with ups and downs. The ups: landing my first big girl job and LOVING it. Buying our first house and new car.
But, the downfalls have made me a stronger person. Metaphor time: all those hurdles have made my legs, my body stronger to move forward and to prepare for the next hurdle.
I love metaphors. And running. So that analogy suited me well.
First, let me start off saying that I know people who have been through some far worse “hurdles” this year. I was not diagnosed with incurable cancer nor did I lose someone I love. I feel for and empathize for people who have gone through those and similar experiences. But, these are my hurdles of my year. I am thankful for my health and family.
So, let’s start with my Celiac Disease diagnosis. How has that made my “legs” stronger? Well, now I know why I’ve had stomach issues all my life! Though I’m not 100% better after a few months of being gluten-free, I know what I need to do to keep my body healthy. I’ve already started improving my times in the races I’ve done this year too!
Next…. I’ve been on Celexa for well over five years and it decided to stop working for me. My anxiety and depression increased. I would break down in tears randomly, not want to get out of bed and felt alone (no matter how many people were around me). On top of that I starting feeling this strange sensation in my head that I describe as brain zaps. This usually happens when one is having withdrawal from an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) antidepressant (such as Celexa). But, I was still taking the highest dosage of it.
So, after consulting with my doctor, he switched me to another SSRI, telling me that after being on certain SSRI for a long period of time they just stop working. The brain zaps were still there, and one day at work, they intensified. As did my anxiety. I couldn’t think straight, felt dizzy and shaky. Not knowing what I should do, I went into my supervisor’s office (who thankfully is wonderful person – and counselor!). When I started explaining what was happening I began to hyperventilate and cry. I had my first, and hopefully last, anxiety attack. And at work… Again, THANKFULLY my boss is super understanding and took me to the ER. During the anxiety attack, I had no idea what was going on with me.
How has an anxiety attack made me stronger? Well, I think it’s helped me see just how real and scary a panic or anxiety attack really is. This increased empathy towards those who go through this will make me a better instructor of Mental Health First Aid and as a person in general. Since then I’ve been on two different medications and think I’ve finally found the one that works for me.
I also have turned to the wonderful practice of yoga due to my anxiety as well as the pain from my scoliosis. I’ve been doing yoga for about a month now and can already feel the difference not only in the physical sense, but the mental and emotional sense as well.
Lastly, my computer’s hard drive crashed and I wasn’t smart enough to back up my files… This means that my book I was writing “My Marathon to Recovery” that I’ve been working on for 2-3 years now is… GONE. I’ve looked through my e-mail accounts, old flash drives and asked around to see if I’ve ever sent a copy. Zero, zip, nada… All those years of putting my heart and soul into that book is gone, disappeared into nothingness.
“You’re boyfriend is a computer geek though.” Yeah, I know, he tried EVERYTHING he could. The hard drive was dead…
I wouldn’t say I got “stronger” at first from losing my hard work. More like infuriated, upset, feeling hopeless. Later, I took this as a challenge. This just means I need to revisit those thoughts, those memories I once had about my struggle and triumph over my eating disorder. Gotta strengthen those fingers through LOTS of typing!
Again, this post isn’t to ensue sympathy, but about how we can turn our downfalls or hurdles into something positive. It’s about being optimistic.
One of my favorite quotes, and another great metaphor, by Jimmy Dean demonstrates just that, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
We cannot change the things that happen to us, but we can adjust how we deal and see these things. Instead of struggling with the change, we need to just adjust our sails, whether it be our diet due to a diagnosis or our mentality about something that we cannot change. We need to stop fighting against a powerful force that will simply not letup, and adjust our sails.
Back to the hurdles metaphor… We will always be presented with hurdles on our path. The more hurdles we jump over, the stronger we become. Don’t let a hurdle, no matter how big or small, stand in your way of your happiness, health, or your goals.