This thought popped into my mind this morning after weeks on end of battling (balancing?) my physical and mental health. I am working full-time in my field right now with the company I started with back in July and it doesn’t leave much time or energy for anything else. This is the reason I’ve been a little MIA from EmilySpeaks.
By the time I finish my days, I am physically AND mentally drained and I have had to start asking myself if that is really the way it should be. Now don’t get me wrong–I absolutely LOVE what I do and I have been able to change the lives of so many patients who have come to me for prosthetic care. Helping my patient population is one of my great joys in life! If you have read my story (Chapters 1-6 are on this site), you know that I fought through an entire YEAR of grueling physical (and mental) therapy in order to reclaim my life and have a chance to work again. I am thankful for my career–absolutely. HOWEVER, I have been ruminating/sorting through SO MANY mixed emotions when it comes to my physical and mental health and how much they are both affected by my working. You see, after going through that year where I felt my life’s purpose had been ripped away from me, I discovered that THIS is equally (sometimes more-so?) my true purpose. This EmilySpeaks outreach has become something WAY bigger than I ever dreamed…but isn’t that just like God? To bless us above and beyond when we answer the call to SHARE. To share the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful sides of life with chronic pain and depression….to be the voice for the voiceless and to SPEAK and WRITE about it all! To reach back into the dark places I have been so I can throw a life raft to those of you who are still muddling through the quicksand pit of depression that can so swiftly pull us under. THIS is something I KNOW I am on this earth to accomplish.
So, what do I do when work exhausts me to the point of not having the energy to write and speak? This is what I am trying to figure out in addition to making sure I am taking care of myself. I have been using any moment outside of work to take deep breathes, to “check-out” on the weekends and rest my body and mind so I can be ready to push through another week come Monday. And, if I am honest, even though I HAVE done those things I just mentioned, I really have NOT been taking care of myself physically OR mentally the way that I should. Case in point: I need a new MRI imaging study and have needed it since I suddenly (and terrifyingly) ended up in the ER and unable to walk for four days back in September. It is now almost December, I have developed new and worrisome neurological symptoms in my lower limbs, and I still need to schedule the MRI.(I know, I know….but frankly, I’m scared of what it will show! We have all been there, right?!) Secondly-but of equal importance-I need to return to regular sessions with my mental health counselor. So, after I jotted down this thought on minding your mental health this morning, I finally reached out and made the initial contact with her so I can get back on her schedule. I am not sure how it is going to fit into my work responsibilities…but I am sure of this: my FIRST and GREATEST responsibility will always be to myself and my health–both physical and mental. If I can get that right with God’s help…I know that the rest will fall in line.
I encourage you all to take care of yourselves in this way….put yourself and your health FIRST in a world that tells us to forsake ourselves and work/give until we are but of shell of the person we once were. Keep holding on friends, and I will as well.