To Give, I Had to Let Go

Last updated: June 2018

Prior to having my body and life consumed by chronic pain I was the person people turned to when they needed a volunteer or help with planning or hosting a party. One of my favorite ways of helping others was filling my minivan with elderly women and driving them to church each week. I had a fit when pain no longer permitted me to continue doing what I loved. Not wanting to let others down I persevered.

Crash and burn

Not letting go of my need or desire to help others resulted in a continual cycle of crashing and burning. The minute I felt myself coming out of a flare I would resume the process. I’d hit the ground running in the same manner that I had before my chronic illnesses invaded my life. Expecting my body to perform at a level that was nowhere near my current state was unrealistic and dangerous.

Learning the hard way

Needing to rest in bed for days or weeks wasn’t enough for me to get it through my thick head that something needed to change. It took a weeklong hospital stay due to my body mimicking stroke symptoms to grab my attention. It was only then that I realized that I needed to make some changes.

A lesson in letting go

My stroke scare made the severity of my situation extremely clear. It taught me that if I continued to live my life in the same manner I would be of no use to anyone. I had to let go, take care of myself, and figure out how to function with my chronic illnesses before I could resume helping others. I felt selfish in the beginning, but in the end it was the best thing I could have ever done. By letting go, I was able to tune into my body and care for it. It gave me time to find new ways to do some old activities and discover ones that I hadn’t thought of trying before. Later it allowed me to find ways to help others that wouldn’t land me in the hospital. I may not help others the way I used to, but with each passing year, I have been able to do more than I had ever imagined possible.

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