How could I ever possibly think this to be true? When would this thought ever take place? Then the time came! Gradually, knowing that the struggle helped to create the beauty began to occur to me.
Going through the difficult times, and recalling the difficult times does not always mean, for me, that I am lost in the past, or thinking about what could have been. Sometimes the recollections just help me to focus on what these times have taught me and how these experiences have given me perspective, and helped me to grow and become a strong individual.
Recalling my struggle with mental illness, the depression, the loss in reality, the mania, and all the experiences along with it that provided growth and awareness gives me hope in the future. So much has happened, yet I made it through and now I know so much more than I did and I know what I need to do as I move forward. This doesn’t mean that this walk is any easier. It just means that I’m more prepared and I’ve been there before. It means that I’m better at withstanding trials because I have made it through the chaos.
I have also learned a great lesson too. I have learned who I can trust and who will stand by my side and support me. Family and friends have provided strength for me when the struggles were too hard to take. They have pushed me forward and given me hope when I felt hopeless and confused. I am so thankful to many of my family that I came to know more closely during these trying times in the last five years particularly, with the death of both my parents and the unbelievably hard times I didn’t think that I’d make it through. Just the encouraging words when I needed them has carried me to the next chapter.
I have realized I have a pretty cool family, and extended family, that lifts me when I need them. And I wish there were more words to say thank you and I love you. I have also realized who my true friends are and the ones I can rely on. Hard times definitely showed me who will be there. My gratitude and love goes out to all of you.
Something that my mom would frequently say to me. She told me to turn the situation around and put a spin on it, “turn the bad thoughts positive”. And I remember her saying, go out, have fun, and laugh – as if laughing could be a planned event. What I did not even comprehend was that trying to make these things happen was possible, and even purposeful.
For me, writing my experiences allows me to do just that. I am able to gain the true lesson and the growth gained from a situation. I’m able to “turn the situation around and see the positive”. Mom was so right. She really knew what she was talking about. And to think, I never thought that turning a situation around was possible. I never could comprehend how that was done. And yes, with turning a situation positive it allows me to be more accomplished and at peace.
And as for her saying, “Go out, have fun, and laugh” – well, I’m still contemplating that one. Perhaps it’s the people who I decide to have in my life. Keeping those people in my life who bring me happiness and love, and weed out those that are toxic to my spirit, will be helpful. I will then be able to smile and laugh more. Mom, I will definitely work on the laughing more!
I never truly understood the person that my mother was until she came home to live with me during the last six months of her life. She was an optimistic, loving, humorous, determined human being that never took being knocked down lightly. She was able to pick herself up and move forward. She was also a person with abundant love and oversight for her family and friends. And she led and taught by her actions. And yes, she was able to smile and laugh despite any trying circumstance.
I remember her falling and being airlifted to Boston and having immediate life threatening brain surgery. Living through the surgery or immediate recovery was questionable. Yet when she was in ICU and under anesthesia while her brain recovered from the swelling, she was woken up periodically to see how she was recovering for brief moments of time. One of those times she was able to smile and stick her tongue out at my son. To be that carefree, loving, and optimistic is truly a gift. So what excuse do I have not to follow her example. What I learned was priceless.
How could I say everything that happened was not special? These times were trying, grueling, difficult times to endure. Yet with all of these struggles, shining in the forefront is some amazingly beautiful moments and growth. These were times I wouldn’t change for anything.