Being a woman, you are faced with a constant barrage of obstacles that you have to process and deal with throughout your life. From growing pains, to being sexually harassed or assaulted, being constrained by sexism, or just the general hurdles of life; a woman’s life is never a simple one.
It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Becoming buried in life’s stresses happens before you realize it. I found out the hard way that your main priority must always be your health. Before other people, before work, before money, before achieving your dreams, before absolutely everything else. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you aren’t really surviving.
Last year I discovered I had multiple autoimmune issues, and a number of complications came up because of it. One of them was losing my hair to alopecia. It was until my hair fell out in clumps that it hit me – I had put myself on the back burner for too long and my body was screaming for help. I wasn’t okay, and it unravelled from there.
I went to the doctor, then multiple doctors, I took tests, and the bad news was overwhelming. I spent four months taking medications that made me uncontrollably gain weight, and still didn’t cure me. I often felt depressed and out of control. My self confidence wavered day to day, and the only thing I knew was that I wanted to get better and be normal again. I just wanted to feel like myself. With the love of my partner, family and friends I got through my darker days, but I knew I would never be complete until I had myself back. The connection that I had just recently in life built with myself was being tested. I felt isolated from myself.
Simultaneously, I discovered a deeper meaning and appreciation of existing and of my loved ones. I felt lost, but I was still somehow certain I would find my way again. Good people save lives, and teach you how to save yourself. For that, I have to be grateful.
On Monday I go in for a procedure that will hopefully put an end to a year’s worth of suffering. I’m nervous as hell, but I’m also counting my blessings – for my loved ones, and to live in Canada and receive free health care, to be able to trust my doctors.
Unlike the beginning of last year, this year I reassure myself without fear. My fear has been replaced with determination that I will never put myself on the back burner again. I will always find my way to health, until it kills me. I will take all the time I need to mend my connection with myself, and remain grateful for the power love has.
I have learned this lesson for the rest of my life: you cannot take your body for granted. You cannot ignore your signs. You deserve to be taken care of, and you deserve to know what’s going on. People will carry you, but you are the only person that can save you. There’s always a fight in you. As long as you’re here, you are here.
It’s okay to not be okay – to admit that to yourself and to others. It’s okay to get help, and it’s vital you help yourself. Only then can every step be forward.