When I was a kid, I used to look at the world with large open eyes. Before things were bad and even when they were bad, I never thought to myself “what’s the next bad thing that will happen to me”?” Even when things are bad now, I think there’s someone out there who has it worse. Someone who is having a different kind of bad day. My bad day is mine, and their bad day is theirs.
Allison is 25 and her story is amazing to me because of her resiliency. As she says below “everyone has those days, weeks, months and years”, but I can’t imagine the events she writes about to get the strength she has inside her. She is one of the amazing women I have had the chance to engage with through this series. Her story is below.
Everyone has those days, weeks, months and years where bad news and unfortunate events are the name of the game. Life is a graph of varying lows and highs.
My lows go something like this: dad diagnosed with brain cancer, bullied in school for my weight, anxiety, depression, self-conscious, dad dies, depression, mono that presented as meningitis, anxiety and depression, being diagnosed with poly-cysctic ovarian syndrome, anxiety and depression, not getting into the grad school program I always dreamed of, the discovery of a growth in the center of my brain, anxiety and depression, brain surgery, graduate school program decisions.
But the best part about some of those lows is that they lead to some highs. My experience with witnessing my dad’s 9+years battling brain cancer, as well as my experiences being bullied lead me to seek degrees in psychology, art, and clinical mental health counseling. My diagnosis with PCOS lead to me seek medical help, which assisted in regulating my hormone levels and my weight. Not getting into the graduate program I wanted lead me to an alternative program, where I have met some of the best friends I could ever wish for. My brain surgery to remove a cyst in the very center of my brain was the start to a life of less pain and higher quality of life.
It took a lot of work to get to those highs. Months of therapy, hours of self care, days of fighting with myself, and years upon years of learning to love myself.
One constant in my life has always been my mom. While I was always closer to my dad than my mom, she and I build an incredible relationship after he passed, she met my step-dad, and I opened up to her about my depression and anxiety. She was my warrior and in my corner every step of the way. While she had a hard time understanding why I couldn’t just “snap out of it” she respected that it wasn’t that easy and it would take time. She believed in me when I didn’t. She was there for every phone call full of tears, for every unsure and scary moment, and she was the first person I told when I finally admitted to myself that I needed professional help. My mom is my super hero. Together we are a dynamic duo.
Before my brain surgery, I was at my lowest weight. However, recovery was long and difficult. Medication and being sedentary and in a restricted lifestyle lead to weight gain. My mom was there to help me get back on my feet. In June, I asked my mom if she would be my accountability partner as I started a new journey towards fitness. But, like the super hero warrior my mom is, she didn’t just agree to be my accountability partner, she volunteered to join a 21-day boot camp with me. We both loved it so much, we became members of the gym on the last day of the boot camp and haven’t looked back since. Together we accomplish 5:15am or 5:45am workouts. On off days, we are there to push each other to the finish. Workouts are a second form of therapy for me. And I’m glad my mom gets to be part of those sessions.
While I still have bad days full of anxiety attacks, pure hopelessness, and uncontrollable sadness, I know that I am working towards a better me both physically and mentally, and, although it’ll take time, I’m okay with this process.
As a famous Disney character once sang:
“I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong”