“Personal achievements in life are down to the mind,
As, in the future you will find:
That achievers achieve because they believe they can.”
– 20, Marrick Taylor –
Those lines are an excerpt from one of my favourite poems. My mother put it on my birthday card for my 20th birthday and I’ve kept it close every since, and these particular lines stand out in my mind this evening.
There is a medal around my neck tonight as I sit here, tucked up in bed with music on my ear. It’s a participation medal, but a medal all the same. Tonight I participated in something called “The Women Wave” or “Jentebølgen” in Norwegian. It’s a race that is 5.5 kilometers long and goes around the center of town. It’s not a race focusing on victory, but participation. Women in all ages gather and walk, jog and/or run the route. Tonight there were about 6000 participants. My mother’s workplace had a few extra starting numbers and so earlier today I decided to join as I remember doing it as a child and absolutely loving it. Should things go south I could just stop and head back to my car, things turned out okay though.
The starting gun went off at 19.00 and I crossed the finish line at 19.51. ME! The girl with a chronic illness! The girl who only a year ago couldn’t lift her own glass of water because it had become too heavy! And today I participated in and completed a route of 5.5 kilometers in 51 minutes!
I began by jogging and slowed to a walk further into the route as the edges of my vision had gone black and the world had become a bit crooked. Accompanied by chest pains, a headache (a byproduct of the low pressure weather) and abdominal pains, walking seemed like the best decision at this point. I am not going to lie, I considered calling it quits, but my legs were still steady, no wobbling whatsoever, and so I took my time and walked, testing the waters. I finished at a jog and crossed the finish line with the biggest grin, and it honestly didn’t hurt that a rugby team was stationed at the finish line as well, cheering at the people coming in and demanding high fives as I ran through them. It felt pretty cool.
Hours later and I still don’t feel a crash coming on and I’m still riding a wave of happiness because of it.
I don’t think one should ever underestimate the effect the feeling of accomplishment can have on ones life. Ones mind. I think it’s important to make room for accomplishments, because when your own body is working against you and everything feels like it’s failing it’s important to have that beacon. It’s easy to become demotivated when all seems lost and so an important thing for me on this entire journey has been to allow myself to have some steps I can master. It used to be being able to shower and blow dry my hair, then it escalated to being able to handle a curling iron again, to change into something that could not double as pajamas, to apply some makeup to my face, meet a friend for coffee. Rarely all these things could be done on the same day, or during the same week, but they were little things that made me feel better when I was able to indulge in them.
The box of things I can do that make me feel better has gradually expanded as my recovery has progressed. I am far away from being a normal, functioning human, but this gives me hope. This is proof that things actually do get better, the journey is not easy, far from it, but not all is lost forever.
Allow yourself to succeed in certain areas of your life, however small the feat my seem to the outside world remember that it’s major for you! Allow yourself to be happy at the small accomplishments as well as the large ones. Remember that even the tiniest bit of progress is still progress. Never belittle it, instead you should embrace it, feel it, live it. Let it fill you up.
Allow yourself to be happy. I want that for you. Every you out there. If you are healthy or sick, on top of the world or struggling, lost or found. I want joy for you. Because you deserve it, never forget that. There is nothing more beautiful than when pure happiness shines through from within, in my opinion it’s the prettiest thing a human can wear.
The road to today has been long, painful and a lot of times it has been without much hope. That is just the truth. A year ago things were more than bleak and I didn’t have much faith that it would improve, but now I see that all the hard work has paid off and I am more than willing to put in all the work necessary to find my way back to perfect health. However long it may take.
There is a medal around my neck tonight and it means so much more than I could possibly explain. It represents everything I’ve had to crawl through, every battle faced (lost and won). It’s a beacon of hope that things are going the right way. It’s a token of everything that has happened and everything that lays ahead.
The best is yet to come.
– Martie xx