Saturday, November 8, 2014

4 Years of Lessons

"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.