Saturday, 25 February 2017

Everyone Has a Battle

I think it's time for an update: many of you been asking me for one!

Where do I start? It's been a journey, that's for sure! As you know, I am studying medicine. And I absolutely love it. This has always been my dream - to be able to use my knowledge and skills to help others. Granted, there are some long days of classes that make me tired and bored. There are times when I feel overwhelmed, and I even wonder if I can really do this! It can get stressful feeling this way. It can be difficult trying to balance my time between friends, family, volunteering, school, advocacy, and so on. At times, I feel as though I'm not even good enough to be in medicine. Will I ever be 'good enough?'.

And then, of course, there is the fact that I have struggled with anorexia in the past.

But, I need to get this message out, loud and clear: I AM NOT MY PAST. (And actually, no one is their own illness, struggles, or problems! You are YOU!!!)

Yes, I struggled with an eating disorder. Yes, there are times when I still feel worried about my weight, food intake, and so forth. But it no longer controls my life. And most days, I don't even remember that I have had this illness. Nor do I feel any different from anyone else.

But lately, I've felt something inside of me telling me to push a little harder. I am doing well now, thank God. But something still isn't right. Perhaps it is the fact that stress around me is increasing. School is getting tougher, and more responsibilities are being added to my plate. Life is moving fast, and I want to keep up with it. And a small voice in my head tells me that it is time to invest in myself a bit more. To show myself some extra love and kindness. And eat a little more.

And I hate that. I don't want to have to eat more. I don't want to deal with gaining weight again. But I know that I need it. I know that I need to gain some weight to maintain my strength for the future, as my career evolves and my responsibilities increase. But I'm scared. The thoughts of gaining too much weight lurk in my head. BUT... MY LIFE NEEDS THIS NOW.  I may not like it. I may be worried and terrified. But I know deep down inside, that a little extra strength will not harm me now.

I'm writing this here because I want you to all know that I'm okay. I'm healthy and strong. But I am not perfect. And I see now in my life a desire and requirement to admit that though I am well, I can be better. There is always room for improvement. It is my time now to improve. My time to realize that though I am strong, I can be stronger. And I pray that each of you finds it inside of yourself to also see that you are okay. You may be battling something...but you too can do this.

We all have battles in our lives that maybe no one knows about. And even if people know about them, they might not understand your battle in detail, or to what extent you are fighting. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that we show one another kindness. That we support one another as best we can. That we realize that you do not know what battles everyone is fighting against. But know this: we are here for one another. We are not perfect. But we fight, and we persevere.

I want to thank you ALL for being by my side. For those of you who are checking up on me, send me kind messages, or even smile at me. Thank you to the people who know about my journey, and who make every effort to be mindful of the way they address food, weight, body image, mental health, etc. Thank you to my friends and family, who always remind me of how strong I am. Thank you, God, for giving me the insight to see that I am doing well, but can still improve.

That is what life is about. I am not ashamed to admit that I have room to improve. I know that this is all preparing me for my future. I have come so far, and I am so grateful for my journey. I'm using my story to spread the message about wellness and mental health. I am using my experiences to encourage people to TALK about their struggles - because it is OKAY TO ADMIT THAT YOU ARE NOT PERFECT. Every struggle we go through teaches us something. Maybe my obstacle is different from yours. But that doesn't mean it is easier or harder. It just means that we are all fighting. But we emerge stronger, wiser, and more confident with every experience. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Take it easy!

'Take it easy!"

Image result for do not be anxious about anythingI find myself having to remember this statement often. I need to learn to 'take it easy'. Life is tough. There are so many struggles, challenges, and obstacles. Some of them are under our control. Some of them have solutions. But others are beyond our control, are unpredictable, unexpected, and difficult. Some situations become 'too much to handle', and we are left feeling hopeless and helpless.

Personally, I hate feeling like I cannot do anything to address a problem that I have, or to help someone who needs assistance. Feeling like I am stuck and can do anything makes me feel powerless and vulnerable...and sad and confused.

But there comes a point when I have to slow down and remember: JUST BREATHE. Take it easy. This is not your fault. This is out of your control. You cannot control the ACTION (or what happened already), but you can control your REACTION.

There will always be challenges. Some days, I find that I am so busy and I get overwhelmed. There are some times when I don't feel hungry, and yet know that I need to eat to keep myself well. There are moments when I feel stressed and tired, misunderstood, and lonely. There are even times when I feel frustrated with everything - even though things are not as intolerable as I think they may be.

Image result for even the darkest night will end and the sun will riseBut then again - who DOES NOT have those days? We all do. If there is one thing I learned from every experience in my life thus far, it is to talk about it. To not hide my emotions or keep things to myself. To find someone I love and trust, and to let them know that things are not okay - and that I need some extra support.

Then, I need to work on my own thought patterns. I need to recognize when I am allowing negative thoughts to invade my head and impact my emotions. It is okay for me to be worried. To feel tired, scared, hopeless, and confused. But it is NOT OKAY to keep these feelings and thoughts ruminating in my head. Instead, I need to learn to stop these thoughts, to question them, and to fight back with true evidence. It is okay to feel an emotion - that is normal and healthy. But what becomes pathological is when we dwell on these emotions and thoughts for a long time, and allow them to control our mood and actions.

Image result for the pain that you've been feeling can compare to the joy that coming lyricsSometimes, this means reminding myself to TAKE IT EASY. I am not the cause of all the problems in the world. And, there will always be difficult moments. We all face challenging times. We all have moments when we may feel incapable, not confident, and stressed. But it is during these tines when we need to breathe and remember that every experience, difficultly, and struggle is shaping us for tomorrow. Every barrier you face today prepares you for the next hurdle. And with each obstacle you overcome, you become stronger and wiser.

So, let's try to take things easy - which, ironically, isn't always easy. But with time, we learn not to stress the small stuff - and to build up our stamina as much as possible. We learn to face challenges head on and to persevere through them. Because life will always through things at you. But know and trust that you are more than able to overcome this challenge. And know too that you are never alone.