Yesterday I was watching a TV show in which one of the characters has a chronic illness. While trying to empathize with another character, he said something that struck a nerve with me: I know what it’s like when it feels like your body is failing you.
I instantly felt this trigger some strong emotions that I had clearly kept buried deep, down inside.
It hit me…hard.
I got a little teary-eyed in the moment, but it wasn’t until I was cooking up the lazy single lady’s dinner of pepper and mushroom egg scramble that I let loose. I wailed. I stomped my feet. I yelled profanities. Thank god the loud hood fan was turned on and music was blasting from my iPhone otherwise I’m pretty sure my roommates would have thought I’m even crazier than I am.
In this blog I have shown you strength, I have shown you determination to overcome. I have shown you courage and insight. I have shown you acceptance. I have shown you positivity.
But goodness, y’all, I’m only human.
Humans go up and down in this journey called life.
I wailed and I stomped and I yelled because there is a part of me that believes my body is failing me, that believes I was dealt a shitty deck of cards and I asked myself WHY ME.
In true form, I immediately jumped off the deep end.
In that moment I thought to myself, Grace, you’ve come so far in your lymphedema journey, in this journey for a healthier state of mental health. What happened?? All that progress. Down the drain. ALL OF IT.
The voice roaring in my head was the type A, perfectionist little devil in me that sees everything as extremes, everything as black and white, everything as really good or really bad. I’ve ruined ALL my progress. I’ve gone and jumped off the cliff and I’m going to have to start ALL over again.
Okay, now let me stop myself right there. Stop, I said STOP.
Yes, I am now in a better place. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still going to be bumps (or in this case, a pothole) along the way, there aren’t going to be triggers that send my mind in a frenzy to find solid ground.
I focus a lot on mental health in this blog because that has always been my biggest demon and it will always be my biggest battle. I am my own worst enemy.
And for better or worse, my lymphedema story has brought out the worst in my demons. It has brought them raging to the surface, overflowing to the point where I have felt completely and utterly out of control.
I’m learning to control them. I’m learning to take things one step at a time, one day at a time.
As my wise dad told me last night in between my tears: you’re never going to arrive the way you want to, because life is a journey.
This is the biggest lesson I have yet to fully learn and embrace: the fact that there will never ever be a big finale, that there will never be a perfect resolution to the struggle. It will never be just white, or just black. It will never be just really good, or just really bad.
We are always evolving, always learning. Just because I hit one bump or pothole in the road doesn’t mean I’ve lost all the progress I’ve made so far. It’s a mild detour and I will move past it. I am proud of the progress I’ve made and I will continue to be proud of myself as I learn to navigate the twists and turns and bumps and potholes that are yet to come.
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” ~Matsuo Basho