Survive to Thrive

I was watching the latest series of David Attenborough on Netflix, an incredible inspiring story looking back over his lifetime of change on our planet. To do that at 93, what an inspiration! He stated:

A species thrives when everything else around it thrives.

– David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet

That is not only true for animals and nature, but also true for humans. When we thrive, we are surrounded by others who are thriving too. We are more accepting of our circumstances. We are open to challenges and what is going around us. We are more positive about life in general. We are not scared of facing obstacles head-on.

I was really good at this before I collapsed following trauma. I was strong and able to push aside anything in my life that got in my way and I accomplished so much from 17-43. As my psychologist said to me recently, “you have lived through 5 life times worth in half century”! I certainly feel it as now I am constantly exhausted and struggles seem to be endless. There are some days that I am thriving, and others were I am more struggling than surviving.

Perhaps for most of us we are surviving each day more than ever, especially in this change of climate, with rising temperatures, extinction of animals and plants, pandemics, destructive natural disasters … the list goes on. Most days it seems like our planet isn’t thriving either, so how do we thrive?

From my experience, it comes down to what we believe, what we see, and what action we take for ourselves. If we continue on the same journey of despair and hopelessness, we will only feel despair and hopelessness. If we hang around people that are always negative or have not got your best interest at heart, then we will end up being negative and not care for others either. But if we, take on our responsibility, accept our choices and believe that change is possible, we can rise above the things that get us down, then our outlook will change and we will walk towards thriving. It is all a matter of perspective.

Have you gone on a journey from surviving to thriving?

Mel

Mourning to Dancing

I have seen the burden carried by humans. I have certainly felt the burden of my own battles – externally and internally. Yet, in the midst of all this there is beauty. A new flower budding. A new life brought into this world. The miracle of a healing. A lost soul found. It is so easy to be caught up in the chaos of life and not stop and see the beauty.

Grief is chaotic. We cannot control our grief. We cannot control the moment it will arrive at our doorstep. We cannot control the triggers we may have from memories, certain dates, smells, reminders. Grief comes in various ways for us all throughout life. We cannot really escape grief.

We could be mourning the loss of a loved one. We could be mourning the loss of our health. We could be mourning the loss of a job we loved. Or the loss of the family pet, or everything we have worked in life towards. I think I’ve gone through every single one of these and it certainly is not pleasant!

When I lost my health and career at the same time, my world certainly went into chaos. What I learned out of the chaos is a special little formula.

be PRESENT + take COURAGE + find ACCEPTANCE = CALMS CHAOS

There is a time to mourn, a time to cry and be sad; but there is also a time to laugh and most certainly dance.

illness to wellness

Struggling with being mentally unwell is one thing and then when your body cannot stand it anymore, the physical illness signs start to show, especially if you are fighting against your mental health and not doing the best things you can to avoid stress.

I was certainly one of those people. I was under a great deal of stress and trauma for 6 months before I finally told someone. By the time I did, I was thrown in all sorts of directions and work in the navy didn’t help my cause. They kept me in the same place for 18 months where the triggers from the trauma existed strongly and my body couldn’t cope. Daily I was led to jumping off the edge.

I certainly understand looking back why my body withered away – inflammatory diseases, arthritis, hypertension, stacked on weight, most likely because I was drinking far too much to cope with the trauma and numb. So I wasn’t helping myself either and it took many years to accept this and take on the responsibility of my health.

I learned the more we can accept, the more we can take courage in taking that step forward. In going forwards, and not stopping, means we can find the best avenues towards recovery or living with the conditions we have. It is a balance. I still hold victory in my mind that one day I will be healed, but at the same time in knowledge of living with my mental and physical health conditions that I do what is best for me in this moment. That is all I can ever ask.

In finding balance, I have found that if I complete something I am passionate about in each of these areas on a daily basis, then I am doing okay.