On chronic Illness and finding reasons to smile

This morning I sat here pondering after reading some posts from people, very much in the same mental space as I was in last year about this time. Frustrated, devastated and hopeless. Vestibular disorders including Vestibular Migraines are a often a chronic condition that alter your life suddenly, and completely. This condition drains you of most of your drive and ambition and you just have to figure out how to keep going through your day to day. I struggled so hard last year. I was pulled off work because I became a danger to myself and a liability due to my constant vertigo & dizziness. I was stumbling around like a drunk kitten. Being a bartender, this not only didn’t present a good picture but because it’s a busy job with lots of up and down and twists and turns was not the most safe environment for me. The decision was made after months of me not improving, but instead getting worse (March to October), that I’d take a sick leave. My condition still did not improve, so I did not return to my job as a bartender, letting them know to fill my position around Christmas time I believe, as Doctors didn’t have high hopes for me to ever return to work at all.

My sadness and depression got much worse at this time. I was devastated. I was a busy person. I loved busy. I loved knowing that I could fill my days 100% with To-Do’s. Then all of that was suddenly gone in a blink of an eye it seemed, and I was couch ridden and stumbling through my house, along furniture trying to make it day by day. I found my art in this time period again, it was something I strongly leaned on. Writing, painting, drawing. I did so many pictures that I gave away in this period and that are in my sketchbook but they carried me through.

Through each day I kept a smile on my face, knowing if I wasn’t waking up for myself, I was waking up for my girls. They were my motivation during my toughest days, were I simply had no motivation to roll out of bed in the morning, no ambition or strength to get up. The condition had taken over. I was in pain, disoriented, dizzy, nauseated and miserable 24/7, but my girls kept me moving. Having to mom and knowing that they relied on my smile and me getting up and being a grown up and running our house kept me going. So I did. I fought mentally through the depression, found my way back to where I could stand almost stable on my own two feet and then was referred to a program that would help me gain some confidence that I’d lost along the way and find my footing. They taught me that I did not need to be a bartender for the rest of my life and that my career was not locked in place just because that was what I’d done for x-number of years. By the end of the course (12 weeks after I’d started but 7 months from my lay-off) I was much more mentally prepared to battle life, I was on medication that had stabilized my VM and I was ready to tackle the work force again in a new field.

My story is a little long-winded and round about this evening, but what I’m getting at today: My path was very dead ended – I was on a dead end track bar-tending and that that and other doors simply needed to close. I believe fully that the Universe redirected me in it’s own way towards a path that would lead me towards my passions and where I’d be much better suited and needed. I now work in a field where I get to utilize my skills in a much better way still but also I get to be artistic ! I’m still chronic where my health is concerned and most days I wake up in some level of pain ( chronic means 15 or more VM days a month) but I do much better than before and I have an amazing support system that is always close by. The pain you learn to live with and it’s manageable with the right lotions. If you learn your triggers along the way and if you adjust your life along the way that also will help. My life changed. A lot. Everything changed. My friends, my lifestyles, I changed, my whole world has changed in the last almost 2 years but I am happy again and I am now in a place where I can almost confidently say that, though I am still daily finding more triggers (some I refuse to avoid: children, coffee, some days chocolate………) and always growing and always learning, I am stable in my Vestibular Migraine/Disorder and I have a handle on it as best as possible in this short period.

So sometimes, even though we may not understand why we’re dealt these cards. Why life is being so difficult or why we’re having such a tough time. If we give it time, and if we are still and trust that things will work out to our best need, they will. The Universe does have a plan. There always is a plan laid out for us. We just don’t have the Answer Key. We just get to go along for the ride. The fun part is to sit back and enjoy each moment and find the miracles in the crazy days!




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