Lessons learned after having an arthritis at 25
It was a Monday morning. Monday 16th of December, 2013. The alarm rang. Time to get up to prepare myself to go to work.
Although every Mondays are “Mondays,” you know, I was feeling really tired. However, when trying to go to the bathroom, I realized there was something wrong with me.
My left foot.
I couldn’t use my left foot without feeling a huge pain.
I woke up my then boyfriend and told him what was happening. He helped me to walk but it was so much painful that I cried.
Looking from the outside, my left foot was looking normal though.
What was happening to me?
When going to the hospital, a doctor told me that I probably sprained my ankle without noticing it. Yeah, “probably”…
He immobilized my lower leg and my foot with a plaster. I never thought I’d have this mummy thing covering a part of my body someday and yet this is what was happening.
I spent Christmas with my family trying to look brave although I was not. What they didn’t know is that the week before Christmas, I was alone in my apartment. Crying like a baby.
I wanted to blame someone, something but there was no one and nothing to blame.
I was feeling hopeless, angry and sad at the same time
I was already projecting myself in a doom future where I couldn’t walk and feeling miserable for the rest of my life. It was hard for me to see anything positive for my future.
Luckily, I’ve been able to walk again and go back to work 3 weeks after my incident.
I wasn’t walking normally though. And a few days later, it happened again. I had another crisis on my left foot. Although this time my foot had doubled its size. There was clearly something wrong going on.
When seeing the doctor, the diagnosis was clear: I had arthritis.
Later, I learned that arthritis is not for old people only. It can happen to young people too — although it’s rare, but it can happen.
Following that diagnosis, I went to see a specialist who confirmed my arthritis.
I was under medication for one year. For one year I stopped wearing high heels and going to the gym.
I became vulnerable and insecure
I was acting like a victim, and to drown my pain I focused my energy on my work, which paid off because I was entitled to a promotion on May 2014. It was only on December 2014 that I decided to take control of my life again.
My specialist told me that I could gradually stop my medication. However, he warned me that I could potentially had other crisis. Since we didn’t know the cause of my arthritis, my medication was just treating the effects of it.
I took my last pill on May 2015. And as of today, July 2016, no crisis so far and many insights that I’ll share with you right now.
#1. Life doesn’t happen to you. Life happens for you
Clearly, when I had those crisis, I wasn’t in my best mood. And although those crisis prevented me of doing simple stuff like going to the grocery store by myself, having my shower, going to work, I’ve learned that I have the control over my feelings.
Of course, it wasn’t the best experience I had in my life, but I still had my family and friends who were 100% supportive, I still had my job, my flat, my boyfriend and food over the table.
My life wasn’t over just because of my arthritis. Thanks to it, I realized how much I was loved and blessed and that’s priceless.
When something bad happens to you, you have two options:
- You either blame yourself, someone, something, the entire world (like I did at first), and feel bad for a long time. You can dwell on it as much as you want, but trust me it’ll get you nowhere.
- You accept what’s happening to you and you let it go. I know it’s easier said than done. But tell me, what are the benefits of dwelling and complaining about your situation? None! So move on and be present. Don’t look back at the past, it’s over. And don’t overthink your future, it’s not happening yet. If you don’t wanna a doom future, then start to act NOW.
#2. Don’t take anything for granted
I lost the ability to walk for a week. After the doctor took out my leg from the plaster, I had to learn how to walk again.
And it’s amazing how stairs that I used to take every morning were such a challenge for me at that time. I didn’t realize how much effort you need to simply walk up the stairs.
Now, I’m feeling blessed to be able to walk again normally and to be able to run again.
Cherish the people who love you and appreciate those things that are basic needs for you but are limited for people living in the poorest countries in the world.
#3. Health is more important than your job
I was on my 3rd year of working on that job and I was so stressed. I was obsessed of doing things right. I’d put so much of myself into the projects I was involved that I forgot to take care of myself.
Having arthritis made me realize that work is just work. Problems that you have at work, are not your problems when you come back home.
So learn to chill out, take care of yourself and…
#4. Enjoy life as much as you can
Having arthritis made me walk very slowwwwwly. And on my way to work, I could see all these people caught up in their own mind thinking about a million things that they forgot to do or haven’t done yet.
Too often we find ourselves being too busy with problems that we forget to enjoy simple things like visiting your parents, catch up with your best friend, watching a funny video, walking randomly in your city and discovering hidden gems…
Who told you that to enjoy life you should be rich and traveling the world?
That might be the dream of your friend, but is it really yours too?
#5. Never settle down for less
Arthritis made me aim for a better future for myself. I was finally giving myself permission to dream again.
People are unhappy nowadays because they lost sight of their dreams. Everyday they’re going to that job that most of them don’t like and complain about it as if there was nothing to do to solve it.
But here’s the truth: YOU have the power to do anything you tell your mind to do.
The reason why you’re doing nothing is because you want wonderful things to happen to you without investing time and work to accomplish it. Then, what happens next?
You settle down for less instead of aiming for a better future. You decide that your life is good enough and plant your roots on the grounds.
It’s the best strategy for most of the people but it’s not mine.
And you might think:
What if I fail?
What if you don’t?