I've been having a ridiculously difficult time in recent weeks. Months, really. Okay, longer than that, but that's not the point. Lately, it's been especially hard and to be honest, I came apart last week, not something I do easily or often, let me tell you. To be honest, I can't remember when I last ended up in that terrible place.
A combination of factors put me there. I felt like the universe was slamming me with one miserable problem after another. Fast and furious they came, each one more complicated and desperate than the last until I reached my breaking point. It was only then that I realised the two biggest problems were of my own making.
The first was that I'd let my fears get the better of me, something I learned years ago not to do and for the most part, I've been pretty good at living through some very rocky times without succumbing.
The second is that I'd forgotten about hope. I'm not sure when it happened, but no doubt it was the same moment that I let fear creep back into my existence. The trouble with fear is that it just takes a teeny little one and in a nanosecond, it's become a roaring fire, taking on a life of its own whilst ripping yours to shreds.
I know these lessons. I've lived them time and time again throughout my life. I'm a very strong woman and I can cope with loads of stressful situations simultaneously. I reckon that this time, there were just too many issues getting on top of me all at once. They seemed worse because I was crumbling with emotion over leaving my family (again) in Canada and having to move back to England when it was not what I wanted to do.
The list of Big Things Going Wrong just seemed to grow every day. Overwhelmed with sadness and a tremendous sense of loss, I forgot what I've learned about fear, and about one of its greatest enemies, hope.
I remembered that having hope is always a choice. It is not an emotion that washes over us. It is a decision to be optimistic, to insist that things will get better and to believe that anything is possible.
I got a little stone that says 'Hope.' I'm leaving it in a prominent position so I don't forget my old friend again as I make my way through some quite bumpy times that lie ahead.
I know it can be difficult to lift yourself out of a dark and frightening hole. But 'difficult' is not 'impossible.' It takes a consistent effort, a stubborn refusal to allow negative and fearful thoughts to get the better of you. One thought at a time.
I'm living proof that it's possible to climb out of that hole and get back into the light. I've done it before, and I'm on my way there again.
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