Challenges in life are inevitable. How we handle those challenges is what determines our happiness.
Life is HEAVY. We are STRONG.
Life is HEAVY. We are STRONG.
There’s a lot I have to swallow as if it’s not eating me alive every second of every day and I know I’m not the only one. The delicate balance of allowing myself to feel authentically while staying afloat. For me, it’s three major things. Three storylines that linger, three battles I am constantly fighting.
I’ll start with the fact I’ll never see my brother again. It’s been 5 years since we lost him and still the only way to move forward is to push the thought away every time it faces me. He’s really gone and there’s no easy way to accept that. But I move forward the best way I know how. I distract my mind from going there. From feeling the gravity of that pain. It’s as if I’ve trained my mind to automatically recalculate when I’m heading deep into those waters. Heavy, weighted, taken by that emotion, I’d drown in that loss if I didn’t know how to swim. While I believe in allowing ourselves the freedom to feel our feelings and work through emotions, I also believe there are certain coping mechanisms that we need to keep living. Not everything goes away after feeling it and we must eventually make the decision to limit those hard feelings once they become repetitive. This year, on the five year anniversary of my brother’s passing, I have a trip planned to not only honor him but to honor my healing. Planned joy as I prepare for inevitable struggle.
Something else I have to swallow on a daily basis, quite literally, is all the misguidance from doctors in my lifetime and the consequences that came from that. More recently with the roller coaster of diagnosing my chronic jaw pain and finding the proper solution. Thousands of dollars and years of my life spent only making my pain worse. But what is the point in dwelling in that? Especially when I’m finally on my journey to recovery. My feelings, my anger, frustration and sadness are valid. While I can work towards giving the doctors who wronged me better information for their next patients and get the word out about my experiences hoping to help others, I can’t fix the issue I have with doctors. I know they can be stubborn, greedy know-it-alls. Whether or not they’re truly trying to help, opening their mind to benefit more people is a lost cause. I have to swallow these feelings. Bury them away and somehow leave them buried. Dancing on the dirt instead of stomping. I’m working on this but for now I feel that rage. I know when I’m no longer suffering from physical pain every second of every day I will have an easier time freeing myself of this torture, until then I breathe through it and look ahead.
Then there’s all the trauma. Trauma from being suicidal and obese from ages 8-22, barely surviving each day, hating every second of my life. Trauma from teenage years locked away in mental hospitals against my will. Panic attacks, fights with my parents, locking myself in my room with a bottle of pills. Being sent to a homeless shelter at 18, rooming with a pyromaniac at the short-term unit, finding out my dog died from a pay phone while locked inside what felt like prison. The countless funerals I attended as a child, family tragedies and the rest of life’s roadblocks. Heartbreak, pain, loss, you name it. Trauma isn’t something I’m short of in my 29 years on this earth, but I’m lucky enough to have gotten through it all.
I used to walk around numb. Whatever people saw didn’t matter to me. I hated myself and I hated my life, I was simply existing until I didn’t have to anymore. Now, even after everything, I love my life. I care about my mind, my body, my soul. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone else because I know I can take care of myself. However, my strength has been something I have begun to take advantage of.
Where is the line between feeling and suffocating? How do I validate my suffering while continuing on? The answer is always one step at a time. My brother will never come back but it has become easier for me to navigate my mind towards happier moments when I start to miss him. Doctors will always misguide people but I won’t let my misguidance be for nothing. I will make a difference in the lives of those my experience can reach and relate to. My trauma slowly but surely become memories. Pieces of my past lives that make me who I am today, and for that I’m grateful.
I may not have all the answers, there may not even be any real answers, but I have faith. I have progress. I have plans to make my life and other’s lives better and I have confidence that with that I will live a sustainable and fulfilling life forever.
Lindsay Greenberg, providing perspective on how to live a magical life.