(This picture was taken just days before I had gotten sick this time around. My son and I had enjoyed natural hot springs and taken a hike. I felt really free. I had no idea what was coming. Late January 2018)
I wrote this text today to a very dear friend who suffers from PTSD and debilitating anxiety. She is very young and a bit of a “project” for me. A project in the sense that I want her to have healing from what ails her much sooner than I did at 41. I love her like a daughter and consider her a bear cub of mine. I shortened her name to just “R” so not to out her identity. So, R, this whole post is dedicated to you and your healing journey and to all others who are working hard at making good lives for themselves. Please learn from my mistake. The text follows:
“R, please learn a lesson from me. If there’s something you want to do, do it no matter how bad your anxiety or PTSD symptoms are. There may just come a day that all the amazing things you want to do are suddenly ripped from you and the only places and things you can do are in your imagination. Live life R. Do the crazy, fun things you want. I hope you never end up disabled as I’m not only disabled, but full of regrets for the inhibitions my anxiety and depression caused me for years. If I wasn’t so scared, I could have had a life I could be looking back on fulfilled knowing I did what I wanted. Conquer your anxiety! And just live! As I can’t do much of anything.”
Please take this message to heart everyone. A very special therapist once said to me “feel the fear and do it anyway”. I wish I would have followed her advice before I became so sick. My fellow warriors in struggling, do your best to make your life what YOU want and do the things your heart desires. Please, if you have an able body, get out of bed or off the couch that anxiety is telling you that you need to stay in to be safe. Safety is being good to yourself, continuing on despite adversity, and having peace in your heart.
I challenge everyone to do one thing, no matter how small to make your own life just a little bit better and to show anxiety or depression that YOU are in charge. I think I’ll start with painting again tomorrow. What will you do?