I Can’t Do This! Yes You Can!
Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, some people make it happen – Michael Jordan
We have to believe that we will!
Against all the odds and despite all the obstacles that we may face, we have to believe that we are going to make it, otherwise what would be the point?
The choice to do so together with the inherent power we have which allows us to make it to wherever we need or want to be in life is ours alone
It could be that we want to make a lifestyle change or rise above historic emotional issues. It could be that we know deep down that we are stuck in a situation which has long since served to be of any positive use to us that we want to be free from
Whether the place we need to get to is physical, emotional, or that of a shift in mind set it is almost irrelevant because if we’ve reached the point where we are questioning ourselves as to whether or not we will make it then we know deep down that the time has come for a change and more importantly a change for the better
If we are determined enough we’ll get to where we need to be
Yet sadly the need to change means little unless we actively want to do something about it and therein lies the crux of the matter.
At times of crisis or indecision the paths of need and want are simultaneously intertwined and yet are also polar opposites. In simple terms when we need a glass of water it’s usually because we are thirsty and yet when we want a glass of water it’s also usually because we are thirsty!
Doesn’t that mean the same thing?
No! If we need something it’s essential in the great scheme of things
But when we want something it’s an object of desire, something that would be nice to have but it wouldn’t matter if we didn’t get it
‘Making It’ is influenced by the power we have to choose what we want in life
It’s when we couple it with an actual need to do so that the chances of actually achieving it become much improved
How can I possibly ‘make it’ when I’m gripped by mental ill health?
Well the short answer is that anything is possible. When we not only want to do it but believe that we can (and that includes our mental health) then we can take the responsibility to choose to be proactive in the way we approach it, for instance…
On September 26th this year it will be five years since I was admitted as an emergency to hospital. It will be a day I not only thought, but was told I would never see and yet here I am!
I tell you this for no other reason than to define how powerful the combination of need and want are as we strive to ‘MAKE IT’ in life hopefully you’ll see what I mean;
For the majority of my adult life I’ve battled with varying forms of mental ill health but very late in the day (I was in my late 30’s at the time) it was confirmed that I had a pretty disastrous combination of anxiety based issues, Psychosis and Bi-Polar Disorder for starters but despite struggling to both cope and accept my lot (denial can be very persuasive) I finally began to not only address the situation but take responsibility for it as I commenced a long and lonely journey through the battlefield that is Mental Ill Health.
One which very nearly saw me lose my life!
The finer details for the under laying reasons (reasons as opposed to excuses) are for another time, but suffice to say that in the course of my denial I frequently refused the help, be it medical intervention, or otherwise that I so desperately needed. I started to self medicate with my drug of choice, that of alcohol and not unsurprisingly over time my problem drinking morphed into alcoholism. It was the biggest open secret around except that the only person who didn’t know or rather refused to accept it was – ME!
Let me take you back in time!
Because frankly we can only ever connect the dots by looking backward!
So on September 26th, 2012 I’m in my Doctors office for the blood test results I’d been waiting for. At 52 I’m obese, bloated, jaundiced, have delirium tremors and am taking 17 different prescriptions daily which include 44 tablets for everything from depression to acid reflux and high cholesterol.
I WAS A MESS!
The Doctors face is grave but she cuts straight to the chase.
”Susan I’m calling an ambulance right now, your liver is failing”
I actually laughed (even at that point I was still in denial) and she proceeded to do just that.
The last thing I remember is being put into a hospital bed and my husband tearfully giving the medical team my details. I woke up 5 days later with absolutely no recollection of what had just happened to me!!!
In short, I had spent the previous 15 years subconsciously trying to drink myself to death largely because I couldn’t accept or cope with either the under laying cause of my illness or my subsequent behaviour and being brutally honest neither had I wanted to because the thought of making it anywhere, let alone to the other side of my mental ill health issues or anything else for that matter just wasn’t on my radar.
That is until I came round and I was visited by my Consultant who told me point blank without ceremony that ‘I would be lucky to have 5 years left to live and although he hoped I’d walk out of there on my own two feet, he didn’t actually think I would be going home’!
The bottom fell out of my world that day!
But in the split second it took for me to register what had been said I instantly knew that it was the catalyst I needed to help me ‘MAKE IT’.
Being faced with my own mortality had in a split second forced me to accept the fact I had been denying for so long – I was an alcoholic – and that if I was going to make it; physically, emotionally and mentally I not only needed to, I had to want to more than anything else and that included being anywhere near the demon drink!
The point behind all this is that whatever the circumstances causing you to feel as though you need to make it are – YOU HAVE TO WANT TO DO IT!
When our should becomes our must things finally begin to change!
My need to make it through to the other side of both my mental ill health issues and my alcoholism turned around in an instant because my desire to live became stronger than the need for that which I had taken solace in to mask my emotional and mental anguish!
We face many battles to get to where we want or need to be in our lives, many of them the result of external influences but we also have to take responsibility for the part we play in things.
It’s so much easier to hide behind the facade of blaming someone or something for the situations we find ourselves in and that’s where, certainly in my case the downward spiral begins.
Be it the opinions and actions of others bringing pressure to bear whilst trying to mold us into something which we aren’t or the historical feelings of guilt, inadequacy and low self-esteem we experience borne on the back of things said or done. The point is they all lead us to feel as though we’re lacking in some way. Unworthy. Not good enough.
They are learned behaviour patterns which can and do impact massively on everything in our lives. Relationships. Careers. Mental as well as physical health and it is the struggle which we have with every single aspect of this which ultimately leads us to want to make it
What we lose sight of, if we ever had it to lose in the first place, is that with a little courage and determination on our part we have both the power and the choice to change things for the better. If we’re lucky – I truly was – we have the support of our loved ones along the way. The bottom line is it’s our responsibility to do what we have to do, in order that we can get where we want or need to be.
How do we do this?
Find a starting point, your catalyst, the thing which will finally galvanise you into action and then understand that you have to unlearn everything that has gone before.
We have to accept that we cannot change the past but in order for us to change we must forgive it. Let it go. Move on. This becomes so much easier when we consciously decide to act based on the combined need and desire to move forward.
When we sow the seeds of change within ourselves then the hard work can begin
Having forgiven our past we then have to do the same for ourselves. Forgive yourselves for the mistakes you made along the way. In doing so learn from them and watch how you grow! As we start to grow we come to understand that as a person regardless of what others may think of us we are enough just the way we are, no excuses, no justifications and very definitely no apologies for being who we are.
When we accept ourselves it brings with it an increase in confidence and the self esteem to enable us to have the courage of our convictions. We no longer feel the need to be a people pleaser at the expense of our own self worth. We come to know that we can and should stand up for ourselves and we come to understand that we don’t have to succumb to abusive, manipulative or emotionally and mentally draining people ever again!
It’s not an easy journey and there’ll be days when we feel lost or hopeless and panic will set in as we fear a return to our previous negative, unhealthy or destructive ways but that’s OK we’re human. It’s not realistic to expect ourselves to be perfect. On occasion when this happens and it will, forgive yourself, draw a line under it and look to tomorrow because it is not only another day, it’s the first day of the rest of your life.
Your new life and if you’ve reached that point you really will have made it.
Is it worth it? Yes it is!
There are massive steps along the road to making it but they are so worth it, especially as we feel our resolve grow ever stronger.
The hard work, the trauma, the emotional and mental upset, all of it pales into insignificance when you suddenly understand, probably for the first time you’re living life to the full on your own terms, comfortable in your own skin and despite everything that has happened along the way you realise that not only are you grateful to be so, you no longer feel guilty because;
You MAY have wished for it, you MAY have wanted it but you MADE it happen
YOU MADE IT!