What if I told you that you are not alone? Everything that you are going through, someone is going through somewhere in the world. When you cry at night, your tears are joined by the tears of millions of other people. Now, more than ever, many of us are in similar predicaments. It may feel like no one understands you or has been through what you are going through, but the truth is that they have. Thanks to the internet, it is even easier to find someone that understands you.
I have had times when I had to turn to others to find relief from the isolation of my circumstances. I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 30. It was a surprise to me because no one in my family, that I was aware of, had asthma. I later found out that my father suffered from asthma that he developed late in life. The way that I discovered it was very scary. I found myself to be extremely fatigued despite getting a full night’s rest. I would go to work and was hardly able to keep my eyes open. I knew I was pregnant and didn’t think that I was suffering an ailment. I went to bed earlier and earlier trying to combat the problem. One night, I woke up coughing. I realized that I had stopped breathing. I tried to go back to sleep, but I was acutely aware that I would stop breathing and eventually figured out that it wasn’t as bad if I slept sitting up. After several nights of being uncomfortable, I made a doctor’s appointment. I talked to the doctor and told her that I thought I had sleep apnea. She recommended a sleep study, but examined me and did a chest x-ray to be safe. She diagnosed me with asthma. I had no idea what life with asthma meant. All I remember was not breathing in my sleep and I was scared. Fortunately, when I divulged my illness to some co-workers, they comforted me and shared that they suffered from asthma as well. It was as if an arm encircled my shoulder and hugged me. I was given so much information and I was consoled. I saw people that were living with it everyday and seeing them made me feel better about my diagnosis.
I have found that seeking out others that are going through what I am going through is helpful. I have participated in support groups following traumatic events in my life. Hearing other people discuss their events, and seeing that they are getting through it, is comforting. Courage is contagious. When you see someone that is surviving and thriving, it gives you permission to survive as well. At first, the things that I have been through in my life hardened me and built this wall of protection around me. As I have realized and felt the connection to other people that had similar experiences, I have grown to be more sympathetic to people in similar circumstances. One day, I think I will write my story. It’s too much detail in this blog, but I do believe that I can relate to many different experiences.
So, if you are going through something tonight, I want you to know that you are not alone. Look at it as an opportunity to figure out why. Why are you being hurt? Why are you allowing it to continue? What can you change so it never happens again? A loss is a road sign telling you to take a new direction. A support group or friend is the GPS voice helping you get to your next destination.
If you don’t have a friend right now, I am with you. I understand. I love you. And, it will get better. You are valid. You deserve everything in this world. You are good enough. Pain doesn’t prove love. Love proves love. Suffering is not honorable. Learning how not to suffer honors your spirit. And the bravest thing you can do is take your painful experience and turn it into service to help another person.
“There are no random acts…We are all connected…You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind…” ― Mitch Albom