“So far, you’ve survived 100% of your worst days.”
I have questioned my strength during so many moments in my life — moments that left me feeling tired, defeated, and hopeless. I questioned how much physical and emotional pain I could handle. During these times, my mind and body tested my strength and willpower. As I wondered, “How much more?” it felt like my mind and body started to take the question as a challenge.
Although it is difficult to recall painful and suppressed memories of the most horrific parts of my life, I am thankful for the time to reflect. Reflection leads me to the realization that I have overcome all of my worst days. I have survived everything I thought I couldn’t. Every time I fought for my life and doubted my strength, my strength never failed me. I overcame every sleepless night of pain, anxiety, and the worst depression I have ever felt. My worst days and my most terrible, unexplainable experiences have shown me that I can get through anything life throws at me.
I started down the path of reflection when Facebook memories reminded me of a picture I took of myself two years ago. In the picture, I look pale, tired, worn-out, and weak. I had oxygen in my nose, dark circles under my eyes, and lips tinted blue. I almost did not recognize myself. I painfully recalled the fatigue that ripped through my body, and I saw the sadness behind my eyes.
The picture was taken at a time when I had lost hope and had completely given up on doctors ever finding a solution or a treatment plan for my declining health. It was a time in my life when I told my parents, family members, and closest friends, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” It hurts to think that I said those words just a few years ago. I’m reminded of the depression and the hopelessness I felt about my future.
Although my body was exhausted and tired of “hanging in there,” my mind was not ready to quit. My mind is a source of a lot of mental and emotional pain, but it is also where I find strength and determination on my darkest days. My mind allows me to remember the times when I questioned how much more I could take. My mind forces me to remember the times when I chose to keep pushing forward, even when it felt impossible.
When I look at myself today and compare the woman in the picture to the woman I see now, I feel so much pride. Although I am not at my physical best, I am not at my worst. Although I am taking medication to manage my pain and to help me sleep until I undergo another major surgery soon, at least there is some type of treatment plan in place. At least there is hope for something better. There are days when I wake up exhausted, but at least I wake up breathing so much better than I was a few years ago.
Sometimes it is hard to reflect on a period of my life that was so painful both physically and emotionally. Lately, reflection has been a good thing. It reminds me of all I am able to overcome and that pain of any kind is relative. I have made it through 100% of my worst days. Here’s to making it through 100% more.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.
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