I like to think obstacles I encounter test my strength and dedication.
This past year has been rough for me and I'd like to open up about something I haven't really shared. At the beginning of March I had an accident at work which resulted in me having a chipped tooth. Not just a tiny chip, but half my front tooth was missing. I was rushed to the emergency room only to find out after so many tests and scans that I really didn't need, I ended up with a ten-thousand dollar medical bill. On top of that, I had to see a cosmetic dentist to repair my tooth. I procrastinated and eventually the nerves in my tooth died and I got an abscess that took pain to a whole new level. I felt like I was at rock bottom. I didn't know where to begin. How would I get the money to pay for my tooth being repaired? How was I going to come up with the money to pay my outrageous medical bill? Is this what adult-hood is like? Being in debt, self-conscious, terrified, and hopeless, I became depressed. I started not to care and slowly, I changed into someone I didn't recognize. I was stressed out all the time and would cry myself to sleep some nights. I'm just a college student working a part-time job to get by.
"Why did this happen to me?" I asked myself.
Eight months later, here I am. Alive and well. I am stronger and more confident now than I ever was before. If it weren't for my strong support system - my family and close friends, I don't think I would've recovered the way I did. From the accident until now, I've realized who my true friends are and how my family's love will always be unconditional. Eight months later, I feel like my life is finally getting back on track. My tooth is fixed thanks to my amazing mother, I got accepted to write articles for The Odyssey, I quit my old job, and found another one in a city where I plan on moving to within the next year or two. I've grown so much closer to my friends who I could not thank enough for being the awesome people that they are. I'm no longer depressed about my situation, because I finally crawled out of that dark place I was in. Life is good and hopefully will continue to get better as 2017 comes around.
I know not many people can relate to my story, but I just want to let the ones who are reading this to know that no matter what is thrown your way, you can overcome it. As cliché as this sounds, everything happens for a reason. Whether it's a lesson or a blessing. It can't rain forever, and the sun will always shine again. Whoever you are, don't forget how beautiful life is. You can't have the good without the bad, and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.
Here are a few tips that I think may help you during those hard times:
1. When you're feeling stressed/depressed/angry/etc.
During those times, it may be hard to try to stay positive, but remember every little good thing in your life in that moment. I know times are tough, but that doesn't mean you have to stop doing what makes you happy. Keep going. Tell yourself you can do this and put a smile on your face when you walk out that front door of your house. It's unhealthy to stay isolated. You need to go out and get your mind off things (not necessarily meaning go get wasted or make bad decisions) but do some relaxing, go out and hike, or just stop by your local coffee shop, throw some headphones in, and read a good book (Game of Thrones, of course).
2. Family and friends are crucial.
I am an open book. Someone close to me could just look at my face and know something's wrong with me. Sometimes I dislike that people can read me so easily, other times, I'm glad they pay attention to how I'm feeling. As much as we want to push everyone away when we isolate ourselves, don't. Your family will always be there for you and will give you genuine advice and guidance. Your friends will do the same and will probably what they're doing to come to your aid. I'm lucky I have friends with such big hearts and no matter what they're doing, If I need them, they'd be there for me in a heart beat.
3. Don't neglect yourself.
This means even if you're depressed, you need to eat, be active, and go outside. Something I noticed right away was that I wouldn't have an appetite and eventually I only ate small portions once or twice a day. After quite some time, I weighed myself and I had lost eight pounds in a matter of months. I felt my only escape was to sleep or to not stay sober. I was looking for something to fill the void in me. But don't do that. Drink as much water as you can, snack on something every couple of hours, shower, and don't over-sleep. Nothing is worse then projecting how you feel on the inside, outside.
4. Reinforce positive thoughts.
Everyday you wake up, count your blessings. Admire how beautiful the sky looks that day and how the weather is just right. Let the first sip of hot coffee awaken your soul and think to yourself, "I'm ready to conquer the day." If you start to think of negative thoughts, distract yourself. Listen to some Jack Johnson, John Mayer, or one of your favorite artists whose music speaks to you. You are in control of your thoughts, whether you want to believe it or not.