Solo Survivor

Happy Anniversary

Today I have been blogging for a year. It has been a unique experience for me. I have learnt a lot about myself and how to begin the process of thriving with this illness. The moments of thriving have been small but more frequent and I appreciate each one of them.

I am so thankful for the support of many of my readers. It means a lot to me that they have taken the time to reach out and encourage me on my journey. I am also grateful that, at times, what I have shared in this space has helped some along the way in their journeys.

As I read through some of my posts, I thought I would share of the highlights for me over the past year.

Towards the end of last year, I came to realise that I was low on hope. I am more hopeful than I was a year ago – it’s still on the low side but increasing for which I am thankful. Part of that is because I learnt to take mini time-outs during my day, to be present more often; to try life in the slow lane. Part of it has been able to see a friend navigate her way through stress and panic and see that it is possible to become more and more whole. I have learnt that having a panic attack will not kill me. It is possible to go from survival mode to thriving mode .

What if you look at this current situation you’re in as a gift?” I sometimes forget the wisdom of this challenge, but every time I remember I find myself being thankful that I can actually learn something new – a new strategy, a new way to react or process what I am experiencing, a new opportunity to show myself some grace and kindness.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says ‘I will try again tomorrow’ – ANON. If this true, I am becoming more courageous by the day. I still sometimes end my day with a whimper, but it is rare for me not to try again the next day.

I have a dream of becoming the very best version of me possible. I still have this dream even on days when I feel like I am living a nightmare and can’t see a way forward. I can still dream of make a difference, however small, in my world.

In April, I started my post with these words ‘I awaken this morning and notice a shift. It seems like I have spent the last fifty odd years fighting for my very survival in one form or another. But today, all the fight has left me.’ I had given up but those around me were not ready for me to do so. They reached out and changed my whole perspective. I learnt the value of doing life with friends – kindred spirits – who will come alongside when the going gets tough and carry you through to firmer ground. I never want to take those I love for granted. Sometimes we need to simply ask for help.

My friend mentioned to me that when she is in survival mode, she focuses on “taking good care of me, just once decision at a time. What to eat, what to focus on, what to share, what to do”. I think I am learning to do this more and more.

Think before you speak – if you have nothing good or kind to say it is better to keep quiet. This reminds of something I saw recently using the word think – T – is it True – consider the source of the information; H – is it helpful or harmful; I- does it inform or instruct or is it destructive; N – is it Nice or nasty; K – is it kind or cutting?

I have come to understand that for me it is a moment by moment decision to choose life – not to numb the pain but to walk through it. This harder on some days than others. Some days I have to remind myself of this, but thankfully, those days are happening less and less.

Sometimes you have to retreat, refresh, recharge before you can move forward. I think as I begin my short Christmas break, that I am in this space again. In many ways it has been a tough year and I need to recharge before a new year begins. I am glad of the down-time I can squeeze in with no pressure to perform or achieve.

My friend says ‘change what you can, accept what you can’t and be at peace with the rest‘ – this is good advice. I still never want to waste a worry or to lose my smile. It’s easier some days than others to count my blessings but I keep trying to think of something to be grateful for every day no matter how small but I think I am getting better at accepting the unchangeable.

It’s been a heck of a year and I am looking forward to a new year of learning and more thriving.

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