Stronger than we think

We are all stronger than we know. I believe that we only discover how strong we can be when we encounter some great life-changing event. Once we accept what we cannot change - we can overcome anything!

I only found how strong I could be when I fell ill with a mysterious illness.

I was a single career woman who worked in the financial services sector. I had a boyfriend who was handsome and had a great career and my friends envied me. My mother would constantly ask me when we were going to become engaged.

My job meant that I often had to travel to exotic and exciting places. I have visited during my work many distant countries. I believe that I have spent time in every great city in the world. You name it and I have been there.
Then things began to go wrong. I was always very energetic ever since I was a school girl and could work all day with very little sleep. It was not uncommon for me to work a full twelve-hour day and then go out with my boyfriend or my friends. Then I suddenly began to feel tired a strange feeling of exhaustion would come over me. No matter how many hours I slept – I was always tired. My performance at work began to suffer and I often canceled dates with my boyfriend.

Then my mouth began to feel sore and there was swelling in my joints. I went to the doctor and he was not sure and not even the consultant was sure of the cause of my illness. The bank that I worked with were at first sympathetic but they soon ran out of patience as I began to miss more and more work. All the time I was very worried about my mysterious illness. The one morning I woke up and felt ill and when I looked in the mirror I saw a hideous rash. The rash covered much of my face and I looked terrible. I immediately phoned my doctor and when he saw the rash he had no hesitation in saying that I had Lupus.

Lupus is a very serious condition but the severity of the condition varies, some may have mild forms of the disease and others may have a more serious form of the disease. Even the mild forms of the disease are serious. Lupus results in many complications, which can be very serious for a patient and even fatal. Some diagnosed with Lupus will die because of complications caused by the disease. Lupus also increases the risk of having a heart attack or getting cancer. I had a very serious form of Lupus.

I could not face work or my boyfriend. In fact, I did not want to see anyone and wanted to shut myself away. I felt that my life was over and that I would lose my career and my boyfriend. For several weeks, I did not get out of bed and only communicated with my boyfriend over the phone.
I was very bored and would often surf the internet. I decided that I needed to be positive - but how. I investigated many websites about self-help and wellbeing. Now of them really appealed to me and by accident, I came across a quote.

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

This persuaded me that I could control and that I could decide how I felt about my life. Perhaps the worst part of my illness was the fact that I had become depressed and hopeless. However, once I realized that what really mattered was how I thought about my illness, I felt empowered.

If I had a positive outlook on life this would allow me to live a relatively full life. I did some more research and found another great quote.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

I decided that like the great Stoic philosophers that I would accept my fate. This allowed me to deal with my condition.

Immediately, I considered the mirror and saw my rash. I hated it but I could do nothing about it. I swore to overcome my condition.

Although I felt ill and wanted to simply to lie down and never get up, I forced myself to be positive. I consulted my doctor and asked him for a list of things that I needed to do to manage my symptoms. I returned to work and the bank was impressed by my attitude and my commitment. They were so understanding and they made changes to my working conditions. They did not ask me to travel as I once had. To be honest I missed all my traveling but I had no choice.

I have many painful symptoms and my joints are often swollen and have blinding headaches. Sometimes working at a computer was an agony. However, I found that by accepting my fate I could bear the pain. After a while, I could get my career back on track. My boyfriend found it difficult to accept my condition and eventually we parted. I was deeply saddened by his attitude, but I also accepted this. In this way, I think I learned that we would not have had a long-term future, he was not a person you could rely on. I guess this was a blessing in disguise.

I have met a wonderful man through some friends and I am now once more going to dinners and parties.

I had learned the power of acceptance and this allowed me to cope with Lupus and its terrible symptoms. Once we can accept our challenges we can then reflect upon them and rationalize the situation and this means that we can control our fate.
Then we can find new ways of being happy, no matter our problems and hardships.