Monday, September 22, 2014

Breakdown is an Opportunity for Something Better - Guest Post

Every breakdown gives you the opportunity to become something better

Have you ever felt like the picture of the watch above, broken into so many pieces that you hardly believe that you could ever become fully functional again? I know I have felt like this. But the great thing is each time we have a breakdown we get a chance to become something better than before. When I was a child I loved to take things apart to see how they worked and see what components that were made from. And tonight my wife God bless her gave me the inspiration for this blog when she seen me taking my road bike apart for a major cleaning, degreasing and wondering why did I not just leave it into the bicycle shop to have it done there in the first place.

The truth is she has a point. It would take less time, I would get less dirty and the cost would be relative low. So why waste a free Saturday morning taking on something that someone else could do quicker, cleaner, better and probably cheaper. This was her question to me. I explained that taking the bike apart has thought me more than I knew before and each time I try something for the first time or that’s new even if I fail, then I’m still learning and she does not really understand the self-satisfaction that I get from not only my efforts, my success but my failures too. I have being asked what is my strongest personality trait and I always answer that I never give up or give in. In fact the more something bothers me, perplexes me, resists me, frustrate me, opposes me then the more determined I am to overcome it. It is this attitude that has helped me overcome my anxiety and panic disorder and function as good or if not better than the average man or woman.

God’s gift to me:
God’s gift to me is that he enables me to function and accomplish the things I set my mind to do. From this comes confidence and from confidence then the ability to take risks without worrying what happens if I fail. I wrote an article titled “there are worst things that death” so if there are worst things then death why should failure be devastating. It’s just another change to try again. When I was depressed from my inability to control or manage my anxiety and panic I tried many things to recover. I tried medication with limited success, I tried natural remedies again with limited or no effect, I tried transcendental meditation it was OK, but not what I wanted, I tried mindfulness and I liked it but on its own it was not enough, I exercised, I rested, I ate well and I exercised self-care but what got me well was my determination to not give up. Eventually I came across the book by Dr Claire Weekes titled “Self-help for your nerves” The minute I read it I knew that this woman had suffered with anxiety herself and her incite was amazing. Her principles are as follows:

Face: Stop running, fighting or trying to manage or suppress your anxiety/panic or depression and instead sit peacefully with it and see for yourself that the only power it has comes from your fear of it.

Accept: Your symptoms and sensations and just ignore them and in time they will pass.

Float: If a person floats on water then there is no resistance rather it’s a bit like having faith that the waters 
beyond will keep your body afloat as long as you trust it. This takes time but it really does work

Letting time pass: Everyone will have heard or being told that time is a great healer and believe me it is true. No one becomes mentally unwell overnight so getting well can take time too. Be patient and let time pass, not always thinking “Ho when am I going to be me again” Trust that your body has the ability to heal itself but even your body need time.

So in essence what I did was compile the things that helped, that worked, that reduces my panic, my anxiety and made my own recovery program. It’s a bit like putting your own tool box together. Instead of putting in every tool I only put in the ones I use and have discovered are best suited to my problem and lead to remission or recovery which even is possible.

Nothing develops overnight:
My determination did not develop overnight, no it was by much trial and error and yes in the beginning I did see failure as a disaster and I even labelled myself a looser. But that looser grew up and matured and the process was like a volcano erupting and great havoc was wreaked at times but just like the earth that was displaced by the eruption it became fertile again. Pain and suffering are unavoidable and yet our very first reaction to any pain or distress is to avoid it so you never have to experience it again. But what if that pain and suffering was designed to mold your personality and spirit into something that would be useful to your community, rich in love and compassion, showing kindness even to strangers because pain and suffering unites us all in ways we never thought possible. 

I’m not saying that you should go looking for pain or suffering, rather I’m saying that when they come examine yourself and see if there is something bigger than you at work in bringing change to a life that needs and deserves it. Every woman who is a mother will tell you that in order to bring new life into the world then that mother has to suffer labor and it’s painful (I am man so I’m not speaking from experience here) yet the consolation of this new baby makes it easier for the mother to forget her pain and God love her go and do the same thing multiply time. If our mothers were willing to suffer pain just to produce new life then remember that the pain you are feeling right now just may be shaping, changing and molding you into the person you were always meant to be.

Reflection and advice:
So going back to was it a waste of a free Saturday to take my bicycle apart well yes and no. I did get it clean and I was able to get it back together despite the numerous parts and screws but my gears are not working as before. If I’m honest it’s not safe to ride yet but it looks good. So I will look up YouTube and watch a video, learn how it should be done and eventually I will be successful but for now I have learned something new and I might just start taking my wife’s advice and enjoy my Saturday in a more leisurely way. 

I’m not stupid either as I have a second bike so when one bike is out of action then I have the option of the other bike so it’s not like I risked everything if all had gone wrong. Planning is also something I have learned from failure. I could have sold that second bike but experience has thought me two are truly better than one. So maybe you might share your story of how your illness made you a better person as I for one would love to hear from you. So for now keep trying, never give up or give in as someday you will reach the summit of your particular mountain and look down and back at your achievements and declare that: 

“I never knew I had that in me”.
by Michael Groves

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