When I was 17, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins.
It was my senior year of high school. Oddly enough, it was the perfect time for me to go through this. My body was strong enough to endure the drugs but new enough to get a clean start when it was all over.
Since my bout with cancer, I have done a pretty good job of staying healthy. I do not get sick very often. Occasionally, my chest will get congested or I’ll deal with a stuffy nose for a day, but I’m never more than “under the weather.”
Over the past decade, I have taken on a stronger defense against illness. When I wake up feeling symptoms, I attack them immediately. I do everything I can to clear out my system, replenish nutrients, and maintain rest, hydration, and activity.
And it works.
Because of my reinforced immune system and being adamant about not being sick, I actually feel like I’m in control of the situation.
That control gives me confidence and more strength as I push through the weakness the illness is trying to bring to my body.
Well, over the past year or two, I’ve been doing the same thing with my emotional health.
I attack the weakness.
When I become depressed or sad or anxious or pessimistic, I do what I can to take control. I’ve learned to identify these emotions early on and I’ve learned how to combat them.
It’s not always easy, and to be honest, it doesn’t always work as quickly as I’d like. However, my proactive defense against these deadly emotions has kept me happy and peaceful over the past year.
Here’s how it usually works:
- A negative emotion will come over me: stress, anxiety, sadness, anger, etc.
- I identify the emotion and its affect over me.
- I then attempt to figure out where the emotion is rooted (what event or situation is causing this?)
- Next I’ll put thoughts and words into play to reason with the emotion. Can I work this out in my head? Can I talk to someone about what is going on?
- I’ll put “happy/peace” into practice. This means taking a walk, taking a break, resting, eating, playing a game, watching a show, or anything else I think may help pull me out of the darkness.
- I reflect on the sequence. How did all of it flow? Did I manage that well? Was anyone impacted (if so I need to mend that relationship)?
- Experience gratitude for being able to work through the problem.
This entire sequence takes practice. I don’t get it right every time.
What’s important is remembering that there is a way to work through my emotional issues. I like knowing that they’re coming to me and I’m defending them, rather than them being in me and me tolerating them.
It’s important for me to know that I can take control and do not have to become victim to my own emotional darkness.