"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly."
Yeah, so it has been a while again. But I'm sorry…I've been focusing on other things. Like my heath.
And I am hanging in there.
As you know if you read my blog on a semi-regular basis - I have had struggles with my mental health for most of my life. I have suffered from chronic clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder for a very long time.
And I'm about to hit a big milestone.
I'm going back to work after almost 2 years away from the office!
Am I anxious about it? Well honestly yes. I am a little anxious about it.
But I (I am starting sentences with "but" but I say sue me)…but I just can't wait to get back to my routine. I'm doing a lot better and look forward to getting back to my job…to my work friends…to my life.
Does this mean I'm cured?
No, it doesn't.
Does it mean I have had treatment and have fought my way to get to a point where I feel I am ready?
Yes it does.
But (there I go again!) here's the thing.
My illness is chronic.
It's not gone.
It is being managed.
Oh how I wish it was gone forever…but chronic depression and/or anxiety does not totally go away.
That's what chronic means. It is an ongoing struggle.
Like any other chronic illnesses, there are many tools but no magic cure.
And so I (start sentences with "and" - don't tell the grammar police!)…and so I move forward. I take my toolbox of tricks and I take a leap while managing my condition as best I can and with a fighting attitude.
To try and resist the fact that I do have a chronic condition is like resisting the truth - it often causes more problems and is a set up for failure. It can also manifest the self-fulfilling prophesy that focusing on something negative can bring.
This is the reality of my illness - this is my truth.
But as I have said before and as I will say again…my illness - no matter if it is chronic…does not and will not define me.
Making big steps in overcoming the depths of depression and/or anxiety takes a warrior spirit.
I'm not saying I am any more special than anyone else.
I am simply saying that I - like so many others - am brave.
I have been to hell and back. (Voluntarily) hospitalized four times in less than 2 years. Electro-convulsive therapy. Intensive, every-day, group therapy programs. Doctors and councillors and therapists and social workers. Other brave souls. Countless hours of personal work. Help from a strong support system I am so lucky to have.
It takes a village.
It takes blood.
Anyone who has suffered from a serious illness - chronic or not - knows how difficult the fight can be.
But I'm still here. I'm still fighting. I have been taking baby steps (two forward and one back in many cases) to improve my health.
Am I scared about this big step of returning to work?
Yeah…I'm a bit scared. But I enjoy my job and I love the people I work with.
Do I still have a chronic illness? Yes I do.
But I am going to fight like hell to keep travelling forward and focussing on the NOW.
Now I am feeling better. Now I am feeling stronger. Now I am feeling braver.
It is not perfection. I will still be challenged by my illness.
But it won't stop me.
And for others who are also in my shoes - the same goes.
You may struggle - but you are not alone. You are stronger than you think. You are braver than you ever thought possible.
You are special. You are your own person. You are NOT your illness and you do not need to hide.
You're an amazing and awesome individual just as you are.
You, like me, are a warrior.