What Do You Do When Your life Irreparably Changes?
In 2016, my life forever changed. I had a great job as an Operating Room Registered Nurse. I had withstood the grueling task that is Nursing School as an ADULT, had worked a year as a floor nurse at a hospital, and was then one of four people, beating out many, to become an Operating Room Nurse. I went through intensive training, and had become proficient at running different surgeries as the Circulating Nurse. I had taken a position that included running emergency surgeries at night, and I was on track to become a Nurse Manager.
Then out of NOWHERE ...
I woke up one night (one of the few nights I actually slept in my own bed), and the right side of my body was completely numb. I sat up, and immediately experienced vertigo so bad I couldn't stop throwing up. I couldn't walk. I could't swallow. I could hardly keep my right eye open, and my world WOULD NOT STOP SPINNING!
After MONTHS of not knowing what was going on, going to multiple doctors, experiencing many painful procedures, and being in and out of the emergency room, I got a diagnosis.
I had experienced several brain-stem strokes. Not strokes caused by blood clots, as I'd always been told was how strokes occurred, but caused by my immune system fighting itself. My brain thought I was suffering from meningitis, and my body was trying to fight it off. The blood vessels in my brain stem were actually closing off, preventing blood flow and oxygen to my brain. I was experiencing strokes.
What was I going to do? I knew my life was going to change, but I didn't realize how much at first. The doctors told me I would probably regain function, and return to my life. This didn't happen.
I was "let go" from my job. I was told I couldn't drive without a licensed driver in the car to watch me. I had to undergo physical therapy, because I couldn't walk. I couldn't stand on my own for that matter. This made me feel feeble and insecure. I had to go through Occupational Therapy, because I couldn't accomplish everyday tasks that everyone takes for granted. I couldn't coordinate brushing my teeth, holding a pen, typing, cooking, even turning my head to the side. I couldn't even walk to the bathroom by myself.
I thought my life was over. Everyone kept talking about my "New Normal," and this just made furious tears roll down my face. I was always a strong, go get 'em type of person, and now I was but a shell of a person.
At first, this experience brought me closer to God. It renewed my faith. At least I hadn't died, I thought many times.
That time lasted only a little while. I become furious with God. I went through so much to get where I was. Why, God? Why? You got me through Nursing School. I was finally becoming the person I wanted and dreamed of being. WHY?!? I became very depressed. I lashed out at everyone and everything in my path. I didn't leave my bed except when completely necessary. I stopped even attempting to go to church. I wasn't a real parent to my children at all. I certainly wasn't a real wife to my husband. I was mad. I was mad at everybody and every thing. I pushed everyone and everything away.
I'm not going to lie; that period in my life was a long, dark period. I lost close friendships, my children suffered, and I almost lost my marriage. It was a hard time. I still have a tendency to feel sorry for myself, and end up right back there if I'm not careful.
So what happened?
I really don't know. It happened very, very, very slowly. I'd have friends message me (because I would NOT answer the phone) scriptures. I had my kids love on me unconditionally. I had my husband stick around, though I tried to push him away. My parents were consistently there. I pushed, and these people loved harder.
Eventually, I picked my bible back up (In secret. I would never admit that I was reaching out for something.). I cried as I read scriptures on how God would never leave me. I had little butterfly whispers in the back of my mind, If you can help even one person through something like this, it was worth it.
I looked up bible studies online. I read these late at night, while the house slept around me. I started to pray again. Simple prayers: Please help me understand. Please help me. Help. I don't want to feel like this. I don't want to be this way.
Slowly, with God's help, and the support I had in my life, I clawed my way up out of the hole of depression, self loathing, and selfish thinking.
Let me repeat, this has been a SLOW process. Looking back, I can see God's hand and love during the whole process. But, while I was in the midst of it, it was hard to see and comprehend.
Am I 100%? Not even close, but you know what? I have climbed mountains of obstacles and overcome storms of doubt, fear, and anger. I could not have done this. I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS without wrestling through the hard conversations with God. He allowed me to be angry, mad, even doubt. He was there, THE WHOLE TIME, through it all ... even when times were so dark that I couldn't see it.
So what do you do when your life irreparably changes?
1) Have your moment of mad, of crying, of anger. But, get through it.
2) Let friends and family love on you, even when you want to push them far away.
3) Don't lose hope, even when it seems like there is none. I promise it's there. There is always a hope in the darkness. Grasp on, and don't let go.
4) Pray. Even when you don't want to. Even if it is being angry with God. He can take it. Let Him love you through your pain.
5) DON'T GIVE UP. I know sometimes you will want to. I KNOW what it's like to just not want to try anymore. Don't give up.
If you feel like you don't have anyone to love you through it ... If you have people, but you need something more ... If you need an outlet with which to cry and vent ... PLEASE REACH OUT AND WRITE US. Somebody is ALWAYS here. You are worth it! You are loved! You matter to us, and more importantly, to Jesus. We will pray for you. We will pray with you. I understand.
Verses to Cling to:
Written by: Amanda Marie, Director of Social Media Marketing