When I was a young girl my mother sent me for swimming lessons at the local recreation center. The first thing we learned how to do was the Doggy Paddle. Basically, the Doggy Paddle is treading water in one place; it’s not swimming. You tread water to keep you afloat to gain strength so you get ready to swim yourself or you tread water in place until help arrives to rescue you. I woke up this morning realizing that this is a time of my life that I just need to tread water for a while and stay in one place to gain some strength.
This morning I thought about the last six weeks of my life and tried to glean a morsel of inspiration or motivation to keep me moving forward. Honestly, I couldn’t find one. By the end of my reflection period this morning I did come to one realization. Maybe standing still for right now is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now. Maybe this time of my life isn’t about action. Perhaps this time of my life is for staying in one place and just doing the Doggy Paddle until the storm passes and I am stronger.
Just over two years ago I had a moment of perfect clarity in my life while sitting in a Doctor’s appointment. The Doctor told me if I didn’t do something to change my life that I wouldn’t make it to see 50 years old. When I walked out of the office I knew what I had to do but I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to do it. I spent the weeks following in a severe depression. I knew the only way for me to save my life at that time was to walk way from the life I was living. An unfortunate event between me and the man I was in love with at that time gave me the push I needed. I knew then in that moment it was time to walk away and start over. It was time to give myself a fresh start and a new healthy body.
Losing 75lbs was actually the easy part of the transformation process. Distancing myself from unhealthy relationships proved to be much harder but I did it. Healing my Liver and stomach was challenging but I did it. Stabilizing my Congential Heart Arrhythmia without medication seemed out of the question two years ago but I did it. Being diagnosed with Celiac disease, a shellfish and tree nut allergy all seemed overwhelming but I survived. And, learning to live a different life seemed completely out of the question to me two years ago but I did it. Now, I am safely on the other side.
After going through all of this the last two years I suppose I expected things to calm down so I could just relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor for a while. Everyone deserves to relax and have fun. But, six weeks ago things in my life got even more stressful and complicated. In the last six weeks I had a month long migraine. I was in the hospital. I had a reaction to a medication that adversely affected my heart. I found out I have a 15 year old neck injury that may need surgery but I am currently going to physical therapy for it as I am not interested in surgery. I had two life threatening anaphylaxis reactions in one week to NSAIDS. I went six days without sleeping. I had a mini emotional and physical breakdown as my Doctor called it from Post Traumatic Stress and was told to rest and relax for a few weeks. I took three days off of work:-) The medicine I had to take to offset the allergic reactions jacked up my stomach again. It’s been three weeks and I am still waiting on that to calm down. And, most recently I found out the other night one of my very closest friends was diagnosed with a rare aggressive cancer and she will be having radical surgery this coming week and starting Chemotherapy. She didn’t want to tell me until she knew for sure.
Well, I guess I could be a pussy about things. I could feel sorry for myself and start drinking again even though I know it will kill me. I guess I could lose myself in Xanax everyday to numb myself to my reality. I guess I could hide in my bed and pretend it all isn’t happening. I suppose others would be eyeing up the branch on the tree outside their house that they would hang the rope from or looking for the pills in the drawer that they would take to finally end it all. But, I am not a pussy and I don’t give up. I may end up in the the Psych Ward if this trend continues, but I won’t give up. 🙂 As a saying I recently heard said “I’m not only putting on my big girl panties. I’m putting on my bitchin’ bra, my shit kicker boots, & spiked leather belt with the FUCK YOU buckle. So don’t tell me to “deal with it”. Honey, I got this shit covered.” My only minor correction would be I would need to sex this up a bit. I would put on my red lace garter belt and matching panties instead of BIG girl panties. My ass is smaller these days and I would like to show it off a bit 🙂
Just yesterday afternoon a friend a said to some really important words that I found very comforting and I would like to share all of them. She said, “Linda, you’ve been through a lot in two years. A lot of people would have broken down before now. Most people would have never had the courage to do what you’ve done and change their life the way you did. The last six weeks have been horrible and you have every right to be sad and frustrated maybe even a little pissed off at God – that Mother Fucker. It’s ok you were weak and broke down. You are human. Sorry to tell you. You’re not Super Woman. It’s ok to admit you can’t handle this by yourself and ask for help. It’s perfectly ok for you to stay in one place for a while and do the fucking Doggy Paddle until you are strong again. Just don’t make me get in the water with you and pull your new skinny ass to shore. I am too old for that. 🙂 Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop expecting so much of yourself. Stop pushing yourself. Just tread water until this storm passes. It will pass eventually. But, until then it’s perfectly ok for you to cry, rest and say no to people. No, I am sorry I can’t do that for you. Especially now because you are going to need your strength to help our friend.” In her words, she gave me permission to surrender to the now of my life. In that moment I was able to accept that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do right now. I am resting, healing, gaining strength and just trying to ride out this strong until better days come around again.
I am writing this deeply personally blog today in an effort to share my experience with anyone who may find themselves at the end of their rope. This is for anyone who thinks they can’t do it one more day. This is for anyone who isn’t sure they have the strength to keep going. Remember, you are not alone. Get help if your life is in danger. Get help if you want to harm another human being. Talk to a friend. Take a nap. Close your eyes for ten minutes and rest. Do the Doggy Paddle. Stay in one place for a while. Breathe deeply and hold on tight to my words. Better days are ahead. But, you won’t see them if you give up now.
I am hoping one day in the near future I will receive good news and good things will start happening again. But, until then I just have to do the Doggy Paddle until the storm passes.
Love, Peace & Happiness