Life Isn’t Over – #AtoZ Challenge 2018
Today’s topic is one that is very important. You may have received what you feel is a devastating diagnosis and that your life is over. While it may, in fact, be a devastating diagnosis let me assure you that your life isn’t over whether metaphorically or literally speaking. This is even true in the very sad event that you’ve been given a terminal diagnosis your life is not, in fact over until you cease living. While that may sound harsh, it’s true. As the old saying goes “it isn’t over until the fat lady sings” and the same can be said about life.
Now that we’ve established that basic rule of life, let’s take a look at the more metaphorical aspect of this discussion. Let’s say you’ve suffered a horrific injury that has left you permanently disfigured, injured or otherwise less than feeling like a whole person. While there is absolutely no doubt that your life may, and probably will, change dramatically rest assured that there is still plenty of life left to live.
Breaking it down in very simple terms due to the condensed aspect of this post let’s take a look at some relatively simple truths. First and foremost you’re not dead, until your dead as we established above. Secondly, while mired in the precarious emotional quicksand and trying to absorb what has just happened to you it is imperative to realize that while life may never again be what it had been up until that point, this does not mean it is over.
Certainly, that particular portion of your life will change and may change so dramatically that it very well could feel as if a part of you has, in fact, ceased to exist, it is all in how you look at it. Yes, the situation may be horrible and you likely may not be able to do things you once could. But there is more to you as a person than just what you may be able to do physically despite whether that is in terms of recreation or occupation.
Does your situation make you any less of a human being or more specifically who you have been up to the moments before the diagnosis? I offer that it has not, and cannot change the core of who you are or have been. If you are not careful a major medical stressor such as this could easily change how you see and react to life maybe even making others think you are a cold, unhappy, or maybe even mean and nasty person.
The fact is you are still the same person. The thing that changes is our attitude based on how we choose to deal with the situation with which we are suddenly faced. Some of this can be based on how you’ve faced challenges previously in your life. Those who tend to shy away from change in their lives previously, for whatever reason, may have a harder time, which is totally understandable. If you’re the type of person that welcomes a challenge and the opportunity to ‘prove’ yourself, then you may not be quite as affected by this sudden challenge that’s been laid before you.
No matter which type of person you were prior there are a wide variety of various resources available to help you from general mental and medical health practitioners all the way to specialized support groups. With the explosion of social media, you could certainly seek help in a myriad of online groups that focus on your particular situation.
Rest assured that you may be closing the door on the ‘old you’ that there is a new and improved version of you just waiting to make its appearance if you so desire. The choice when extremely oversimplified comes down to whether you have the desire to fight for that positive change or simply permit the negative circumstances to determine your fate without any attempt on intervention by you.
Maybe you’ve been told you will never walk again for whatever reason. Does this end your life? No, it does not. Admittedly it is going to be an enormous shift in what you’ve been used to and how you will physically be able to approach life from that point forward. However, despite your sudden infirmity you can still prevail and live a happy, otherwise healthy, and productive life.
Sure, you may have to alter your ideas of what productive means to you personally. Maybe you previously were an extremely active person and your job is typically geared to ‘normal’ people in the aspect of not being usually thought of as something a person in a wheelchair could do. Does that mean you can’t forge a new path? Absolutely not. It just means you may have to redefine your path and what your current goals and what your preferred result will be.
During all of this, it is very critical to set yourself realistic goals, and not set yourself up for what could seem like a failure. Using the above example of no longer being able to use your legs let’s say you set your goal going forward as learning to walk again to return to your previous state. While admirable that you wish to prove medical science wrong (which does occasionally happen) it may not be the most realistic or attainable goal and if you, in fact, are unable to achieve it you will likely feel as if you’ve failed or let yourself, and possibly your friends and family, down.
In reality, you simply failed to properly plan based on the facts presented to you in your particular situation. To use another example if you are diagnosed with a mental health issue that leaves you moody and seemingly chronically depressed it may not be a good choice to pursue a career which will leave you feeling sorrow at work such as in a hospice or an animal shelter that sadly has to euthanize animals frequently.
You CAN do nearly anything that you reasonably set your mind to, including learning new skills with which to cope or work despite your limitations. The choice is entirely yours as to how to best make this happen and to avail yourself of the multitude of available resources that may be available to you. Depending on your situation there are even organizations that may help you at no cost to you. Returning to the example of your legs being paralyzed we discussed above, such organizations could include free help for job retraining, accessibility aids, or even vehicle modifications to permit you to return to work.
In short, don’t let ANY circumstances in life dictate what you can do or your outlook on how you will approach life going forward. You can set new goals, learn a new job skill, and learn to adapt to nearly anything in life given the right mental attitude, and of course the blood, sweat, and tears of your own sweat equity that you put into the effort. Set attainable goals, and let’s do this!
Have you or someone you know been through anything that drastically altered life as you knew it? How did you cope? What did you do to decide to go on with life and create a “new you”? Feel free to share your story with us below in the comments. We’d love to hear your story.