i think i’ve received this question before, but i haven’t gotten a chance to really address it properly in a blog entry.
how do i stay strong despite all the bad times i have to go through?
to answer the question simply,
i’d suggest you pen down the list of positive changes you’ve observed in yourself ever since you quit steroids.
it can be simple stuff like..
i appreciate my family so much more than before,
i no longer take things i have for granted,
i am thankful all the fucking time such that i can tear up any time any where,
i am more empathetic than i ever was,
i’m not that snobbish bitch anymore,
i lead a healthier lifestyle now that i know what to do.. etc.
once you complete the list, you might be able to resonate with what i’m about to write.
i always tell others i’m not as strong as they think.
in fact, i don’t even think i’m strong.
i just managed to find a way to look at things to make myself not feel that bad.
you know, chasing after that silver lining?
on rare occasions, it even make me feel good! (totally in line with the making lemonade out of the lemons life gives you)
before i go on, you must understand where i’m currently at, in terms of my mental state.
i’m convinced that whatever is happening to me in the past 2 years is NOT topical steroids withdrawal,
instead, it’s the gradual worsening of my underlying eczema that was untreated for the past 24 years of my life.
once that thought is in place, i know there are many things that i can try to improve my health,
and ultimately, get rid of my eczema.
i’ve been experimenting on myself the past 2 years,
from diets to nutrition, i even indulged myself in the theories of traditional chinese medicine.
i’ve devoured so much information about health, been exposed to so many different areas,
it really helped me paint a better picture of the holistic nature of health and well being.
it really is a combination of mind, body and soul.
i’m talking about preventing other chronic issues that might be worse than eczema!
heart attack? dementia? diabetes? organ failures? depression? chronic pain?
everything that’s caused by chronic inflammation, i read a thing or two about how a certain diet can prevent all those.
i learnt that i can reverse those diseases, and that includes my eczema.
and not only that,
i’ve been given a chance to know my body better.
even though i’m still struggling with finding out what food gives me the most problem,
i’ve learnt to respect my body and treat it like a temple.
i got to be careful of what i put in my body.
perhaps the most beautiful thing i learnt are the teachings in traditional chinese medicine,
the philosophy that outlines traditional chinese medicine theories are also the way i want to lead my life.
that we are merely reflections of nature, and that we should always seek balance to coexist instead of taking things to the extreme.
after all, when everything is in balance, there will be peace.
it helped me appreciate my life as it is, especially in the face of difficult times.
no one wishes for sufferings, but the truth is without the harsh moments,
we simply can’t appreciate the happy times for what it is.
what’s more, i’ve been practicing mindful meditation the past year!
it’s crazy because prior to my 2014 flare, i wouldn’t have been able to sit down for more than 10 minutes doing nothing but focusing on my breathing.
when it was first suggested to me, i find that idea rather repulsive because i have never been able to focus on not thinking.
but look how far i’ve come. i’ve changed.
with each passing day, i become more mindful of myself and my surrounding,
and it’s benefiting me in this world of chaos.
it’s helping me cope with realities better by changing my expectations and reactions to the external world.
things can change, new skills can be learnt, and new habits can be formed.
i’ve witnessed this over and over again.
would i be on this enlightening path if not for the hellish days i’ve went through years ago,
thanks to using topical steroids for so many years?
i’d like to think that i wouldn’t have had this mental growth if not for TSW.
it has taught me more than just being resilient.
it changed the way i look at things, the way i make decisions.
it’s an important switch that will affect all the other choices i make in the future, and i believe it’s for the better.
even right now (after my bout of moodiness yesterday),
i’m choosing to focus on all the amazing things i’ve gained in life.
at the end of the day,
no one cares about your well being more than yourself (or maybe your loving parents, or spouse),
and being gifted the knowledge that i can reverse any chronic issues is perhaps one of the most empowering thing TSW can do for me.
i always say,
those who don’t want to be helped can’t be helped.
some people don’t know they can be helped, they have a thing called “learned helplessness” where they live their life feeling defeated,
thinking that there is NOTHING they can do to make things better.
i have a friend who suffers from depression.
while researching on mineral deficiencies and diets, i’ve come across a huge number of positive reviews and testimonies from people whose depression disappeared after they corrected the imbalance within their body.
hoping to help my friend, i shared this good news with her thinking that she might want to give it a try instead of relying on anti-depressants.
but, those who don’t want to be helped can’t be helped.
she has willingly accepted the idea that “depression can’t be cured, it can only be managed”.
plus, she don’t see a problem with taking anti-depressants.
i guess ignorance can be blissful sometimes, until it bites you years down the road.
other than the fact that i’m not depressed,
the only difference between me and her is that i do not feel helpless.
i think we’ve all been helpless at one point or another, because dermatologist tell us our eczema can’t be cured.
but TSW gave me a glimmer of hope that the dermatologist are wrong (that i don’t have to be on steroids for life).
and my research on nutrition proven me more right (that eczema can indeed be cured) as time goes on.
TSW nudged me towards a better me.
i now know i didn’t get a death sentence (by eczema), and i have the power to be more positive,
i have the knowledge to make more informed choices about my own health (and that of my family),
and most important of all, i know how to bend my mind to get through shitty times.
perhaps you’ll argue that despite me claiming to be able to not feel depressed, “but you still feel like shit on some days after all these years of training!”.
it’s not that i don’t feel depressed anymore.
i just don’t feel bad for that long.
say you go to a gym to build up your muscles,
you pick up the dead lift from the ground, and lift once.
are you going to miraculously develop the muscle you longed for by just lifting once?
you have to keep lifting and lifting,
and even after your muscles have grown, it’s not like the dead lift is no longer heavy.
you just find it easier to lift it up the next time.
my point is, when you feel down again for the n-th time,
it’s just but another training session for your ever growing mental strength,
because you know you’re gonna bounce right back in time to come.
and the best thing about building up your resilience?
the next time a difficult time comes around, you know you’ll be able to get through it just like you did the last time,
just that this time, it might be a little easier than before.
don’t stop believing!
p.s. read this article that resonated with my belief that nothing in this world is truly linear, and to accept and expect that things will change is the way to be feel empowered.