The title of this post is just a fair warning to the many readers who follow my blog each week, that this will not be the typical humorous, quirky, and witty piece that you are used to. Because with life and love, comes fear and pain. We have to take the good with the bad. So just like when you are reading reviews on the new blockbuster movie you can’t wait to see, you appreciate that someone has common courtesy to notify you with a “Spoiler Alert” before reveling the details about the end of the flick, I too have given you fair warning…proceed reading at your own risk.
Have you ever sat with someone in so much emotional pain that the only thing that seems to provide relief is the thought of ending it? I am not hungry, but I know that I need to eat. I walk to the fridge and stare at the racks of food, but nothing sounds appetizing. I choose a “Lean Cuisine” pepperoni pizza. This is because it is not a big commitment, just throw it in the microwave and if I don’t like it, I wont feel guilty tossing it in the trash. As it is heating up, I am thinking of my day.
Here I am staring at the oven, and feeling uneasy. I have just left the hospital where I was aiding in helping someone who was hurting so badly they believed that ending their life was the answer. Now I am in my silent kitchen, under the glow of fluorescent lights, worrying that I might over-microwave my figure-friendly pizza. At the same moment, this person is in a hospital bed, feeling exhausted and does not have the strength to live another day. Such a surreal moment. I feel sadness pour through my body as I feel slightly ill.
Today I was asked, “How do you do it? How can you stay so positive with all of your medical issues?” I did not know how to respond. I wish that I could have told them my secret to happiness, but the truth is I am not sure I have one. Each of us has experienced pain and sorrow. The only thing that is different is how we cope. The scary part comes from realizing that many of the difficulties that we are faced with, originated from how we muddle through our challenges.
A perfect example: Jane Doe was 13 years old when she was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was put on multiple medications to manage (coping) the symptoms. These drugs in turn weakened her immune system, which led to colon cancer at age 24. She endures (coping) many hospital stays, many surgeries and medical tests. This traumatized her, which evolves into depression/anxiety. Now everyday becomes a struggle to feel normal, so she uses psychotropic medications (coping) to attempt to enjoy her college years. Due to the medications she used as a 13-year-old (coping), she is then diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 32. Trying to eradicate the sadness and anger from being stripped of her life, she fills her days with humor (coping) and stays so busy that she is unable to think of her pain (coping).
It doesn’t take a detective to realize that the Jane Doe I used as an example is actually me…… my life. I sit here with a cold uneaten pizza, listening to Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and feeling grateful that I have somehow found a way to survive. I believe that sharing your story can be extremely powerful. So even through this blog post wasn’t filled with unicorns and frozen yogurt, I appreciate being able to share it with you.