"Courage is found in unlikely places." -J.R.R. Tolkien
Almost five years ago I was diagnosed with Cluster Headaches (The Beast). Four years ago today I was forced out of my fulltime job as a mental health counselor due to the chronic pain of The Beast. November 8, 2010 my world was rocked. I never understood how much of ME was defined by my work. It took me a long time to find my place in the world, being a mental health counselor was it. No one could tell me that I wasn't good at what I did. And walking away from it that day was completely devastating. I fought with my devastation for a long time. There are still days that I am smacked in the face by it. Not a day goes by that I don't fight to get back to it. Sitting here now I have tears in my eyes as I mourn what was.....
While I do allow myself time to mourn what was, I no longer punish myself for what isn't. That sounds strange. Why would I punish myself for a situation I had no control over? See that's just it, for so long I believed that if I had just tried harder I could have pushed through the pain. It has taken me a long time to understand that I gave work my all, right up until the day I walked away from it to take care of myself.
Through these last four years I have realized for the first time in my life how strong I am. There is not a day that goes by that I don't fight for each moment I am living life. I accept small wins as big accomplishments. I find a way to make a difference, even if no one else realizes it. And I allow myself to be who I am. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. There are days that the only thing I can do is get out of bed only to move to my chair, and in my world, that is OK. I have found others who also battle The Beast and understand exactly how devastating all of this can be. I am here today, with an amazing family who has cheered for me when I'm struggling, fought for me when I can't and put me back on track when I have veered to far off course. For all of these things I am one lucky lady. Today I celebrate all that I have gained in the last four years.