“So now I know what I have to do. I have to keep breathing. And tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring in.” ~Chuck Nolan, Castaway
I wake up at four-thirty in the morning with the flick of the overhead light and a chatty nurse. She slaps a blood pressure cuff on me, hands me a shot glass of meds and proceeds to siphon my blood into tubes. If this isn’t bad enough, when she is done she makes me crawl out of bed to get my weight. During this process I am imagining the many ways I could maim her. Yes, I love my nurses, I am friends with many of them. This doesn’t mean I don’t fantasize about grabbing a hypodermic needle and jamming into her eye. Of course, I would never do this, but at four in the morning it’s fun to fantasize.
I definitely woke up on the wrong side of my bed. I am in a growly mood. Monday I felt invincible and strong, today those feelings have dissipated like dew on a June morning. I feel trapped in a bizarre hospital prison with no hope of escape.
We all have to go through difficult times. Even the strongest people who have a positive mindset will struggle. We are only human after all, and sometimes at our breaking point we turn to the dark side. The toughest of circumstances can feel absolutely unbearable. Like a personal assault attacking our spirit with all its might, it weighs us down like a ton of bricks, holding us in place. So what’s a person to do when they feel this unbearable weight? You have to look within. Be mindful of what you need. Get yourself an emotional toolbox, and fill it with tools. Here are just a few of mine.
1.) Be grateful during the tough times.
No matter how bad things are, I can always find something to be grateful for. Even if it’s as simple as a chocolate bar.
2.) Remembering how I got through the last difficult time.
Sometimes, it may only be few days since the last time, but if it worked once it may work again.
3.) Live One Moment At A Time.
It is easy to be overwhelmed when looking toward the future. For me, staying present in the moment can make all the difference.
4.) Speaking softly to myself.
I am a big fan of writing letters to myself. There is something to be said about getting your thoughts down on paper. Love yourself, and be kind.
5.) Reach out.
No one can make it alone. Whether it’s a friend, sibling, nurse or holy person; just talking about it can really go far.
We all have choices. It’s these choices that make us or break us. I could choose to give up and go home. Actually, that’s the easiest choice. Just pack up and walk out the door. However, the consequences of that decision would be catastrophically fatal. So I choose to stay in this bizarre bastille, walking laps in the exercise yard with the other wounded prisoners. Yet despite the feeling of being chaotically trapped, I wake every day with a grateful heart. For as long as I am breathing, there is hope.