When we rush to conclusions about someone else’s health based on how they act, we completely discount the importance of mental health, and that those struggles and demons are just as valid as illnesses. I can’t help but think about those we’ve lost to suicide: some who worked so hard to present as happy for everyone else, or to “fake it til they make it,” but who were fighting their own minds on a constant basis.
A few days ago I was scrolling through social media and I came across this quote: “You mastered survival mode, now it’s time to live.” and so I paused and read it again and again and then I asked myself, “What do I define as survival mode? Did I master survival mode or am I still surviving? Am I really living? Can you ever master survival mode?” So then I went on to think about everything that has been going on in my life so far, both past and present and realized that I find myself going back and forth into survival mode, maybe all of us do (at least for now).
When someone says, “tell me about yourself”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Do you identify most with your job? What about with your diagnosis? One of the biggest struggles I’ve had since finding out I had breast cancer was figuring out how I really see myself, and how I identify myself to others. When I’m too sick to work, am I still a physical therapist? Just a cancer patient? A survivor? Does it really matter? Who gets to decide these things?
One day, whether you agree with me or not - your mindset about this trauma will start to shift but until then cry it out, cuddle it out, Netflix it out, feel all the emotions and most importantly eat only delicious things to block out the thoughts. In the meantime, hopefully by sharing my story, I’ll be able to inspire you to see things differently so that you can go from all the feelings of *the day that changed your life* to feeling positive, strong, capable, and like you’re thriving (as well as surviving) daily.
I have chosen to share my story so that others know that they are not alone. I do what I do for the people out there who just need to know it is going to be ok and to help bring awareness and research to Ovarian cancer and to support my fellow thrivers. My life the last 5 years has reminded me that I can be strong, fierce, supportive, thrive, and be a badass when I need to be, and that’s exactly what I plan to continue to do.