For a long time, I thought that I was crazy. Although an unsubstantiated diagnosis, my emotions seemed volatile so at the very least, this made me the craziest of the sane. I tried everything to turn the crazy off, but nothing seemed to help: medications (prescription and herbal), self-help books, tapes and etc. You name it, I tried it.
It all began on a ridiculously average day in the middle of summer. It was both, hot and dry, two words you can count on in California’s capital. I was driving in the fast lane as I liken myself to Speed Racer and everyone else as mere impediments especially in 5 o’clock rush hour traffic. Shaking my fist at all the slow pokes, I headed into the heart of Sacramento’s infrastructure where three different highways merge and bustling downtown’s on and off ramps met. It was here that I heard a strange snap and instantly, my steadfast Subaru started to lose speed. Immediately, I knew that i
It seems like another life, but really it was just three years ago that my mom was diagnosed with stage IV Cancer. And, in case you don’t know what the stages are, 4 is the worst, outside of death. Whatever the stage, though, as soon as you hear those six little letters (cancer), you think death. This was the day my world changed forever.
One of the most difficult things about self-betterment is how much it affects your day to day relationships. As one changes so will your relationships. It’s a fact. For me, this has been rather challenging in regards to my healthier self because it's difficult to redefine boundaries within established relationships. We have all heard the cliché that your friends reflect who you are so what do you do when you change and they don’t?
I have a fear of heights. What’s strange is this wasn’t always so. I remember on one ordinary day, I looked down from the top of a boulder that I scaled in Lake Tahoe; it was the first time that I ever visibly shook from fear. I was shocked by my own reaction because until that moment, I had no idea that this fear of heights existed.
As I sit with my BFF (Best Friend Forever), we watch the rain bounce upon the pavement through his office window. Our hands are tightly wrapped around our ceramic mugs, not because it’s particularly cold, but more for its consoling gesture. With a subtle hint of wood burning in the air, it most certainly feels like fall. As I watch the sky heave, it seems to reflect how I feel as though Mother Nature is bearing the burden of my grief.
“What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger” - Friedrich Nietzsche. This quote is so ingrained within our society that it’s become a stock phrase for hard times. I know that I, myself, have said it and as much as it annoys me, there’s actual truth in those words. Yes, any time that I overcome an obstacle, a travesty, I am stronger, savvier. Here’s the thing, my point of contention, I’m so frigging strong as is who needs to be stronger?
What does it mean to be o.k.? I’ve been wondering this a lot lately. "How are you" being the most common greeting, there's no way to avoid wondering, especially since I'd burst into tears when asked this automated greeting over the last two months. While undergoing difficult times, this salutation feels like fingernails on a chalk board and this is not exclusive to grief.
The grief process didn’t start with my mom’s death. It actually started two and a half years ago when she was first diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer. I remember my therapist pointing this out, but at first, I rejected the possibility. To me, admitting that I was grieving seemed liked I was giving permission to the terminal in my mom’s diagnosis. Instead, I kept my focus on being emotionally and spiritually healthy so that we would be worthy of a miracle and for awhile, it appeared to be working.
In my personal experience, the one thing most essential to becoming healthy is something so simple that most people forget about it. It is available to all and owned by no one. What I’m speaking about ever so cryptically is the notion of hope. To me, it is the bridge between self-destruction and healthiness, desolation and happiness.