New Year, New Perspectives?

So warriors, I ask you – what have you been believing about yourself and your life that needs to be challenged and changed?

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Greetings Warriors!

This is officially my first blog post of 2019! This year has already flown by quickly – I can’t believe we’re in the beginning of February already! 

I am hoping many of you have started of 2019 well, have set your goals and started to execute them already. If you haven’t; it’s all good! I’m hoping you will consider doing this after you’ve read this post. 

When a new year comes around, it is very common for most people to spend it doing the following: trying to get our lives in order; making readjustments in our finances, our relationships and health. We set our goals, and then let the rest of the year flow on. Now it’s great that we do this, but my question is – how much of that time do we spend adjusting our perspectives and mindsets?

Walk with me as I dig into this…

The goals we usually desire to achieve are oriented around the areas that I listed previously; our careers, health and relationships. But here is the thing – our goals are essentially impacted by our mindsets and perspectives on life. There is no escaping this. So considering those internal thoughts and beliefs have such an important impact, why is it that we never take the time to review how we see and process things in our lives?

Having a bad year can determine one’s expectations for the following year. Some people may have an atom of excitement; hoping the year will be even better than it’s predecessor. But some may not even have a shred of optimism or feel inspirited for the year to come as life has beaten them down terribly. Their experiences have caused them to lose hope. 

Now, we will go through those seasons in life when we lose hope – in sickness and in health. Unfortunately, dealing with a chronic illness or chronic pain can leave you in an emotional and mental state that is crippling. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand how somebody can simply carry this mindset with them into their next year. 

As for me…

Over the last few months, I have taken out a lot of time to review my life and perspectives on everything. I dug deep spiritually, mentally and emotionally; God uncovered some things about me that didn’t look good. I started to realise that I carried more anxiety than joy and more fear than I did peace. I was in the position where I had lost hope and zeal for my future. The last few years were filled with so many trials and tribulations, that dealing with chronic migraine was the hand that suffocated my ability to bounce back in genuine hope. I had started to just accept and settle with the notion that I was sick – and that was the way I was going to remain. My mouth was saying all the right things, but in my heart, I started to doubt that things would ever actually get better. It just seemed like I couldn’t catch a break. I had gotten so used to seeing darkness all the time, that this was the new thing I started to expect for my future. From my perspective, life had only declined over the last 5 years and therefore probably wouldn’t improve. At all. These feelings didn’t develop overnight, but after years of struggling with being in chronic pain. The tricky part about all of this is, these feelings within my heart were so subtly embedded, that it took revelation from GOD to realise that this was how I felt. 

We can think we’re being real with ourselves, but not realise there are some cases of emotional baggage that we have hidden so deep within us; we don’t even realise they’re there. 

But God. Through venting to him in prayer, and hearing great messages in church, I started to remember the things that I had known all along; that I had a lot to look forward to; that my current circumstances were just that: current circumstances. I was reminded that my life won’t always be this way. It came back to my recollection that seasons change. That where I am now isn’t where I was 5 years ago – therefore where I am now isn’t where I’ll be in the next 5 years. 

After this reminder, I asked for God to show me how to have peace and contentment with my life once more. I started to accept and believe God’s promise to me again – that my healing will come and my chronic migraine will eventually pass. After all, it says in the bible that “what is impossible to man is more than possible with God”. However, I had to believe first to get this process started. If I refused to believe this, then I have closed to door to this being able to happen. 

The importance of belief…

Here’s the thing; when we truly believe something, it transfers from our heads to our hearts and vice versa. What we believe ultimately comes out through our words and our actions. What you believe about yourself and your life does ultimately have an impact on who you will become. I’ve highlighted this concept before, especially about self-fulfilling prophecy in some of my previous posts.

Keep in mind that this also works in reverse. Your actions and your speech can also influence what you believe about yourself and your life. 

Why our actions and speech matter…

Well as I’ve mentioned in the past, as a man thinks (in his heart), then so is he! Forget we are what we eat – we are what we believe! Our perspectives in life are under our control and it’s up to us to adjust them. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen overnight, but if we are active and consistent in monitoring our thoughts about ourselves and everything around us, then we can be en route to having a life that is filled with more joy than sorrow as chronic illness/pain sufferers! We can become the goal diggers who achieve anything that we focus on. But we have to make up our minds to make it happen first. 

Let me give an example…

Let’s use a fictional person – Adam. Adam wants to be an author, but is struggling with doubts that he will be successful. This hinders him; causing him to procrastinate on writing anything. Because he hasn’t written any books, he can’t publish anything. One cannot publish something that is yet to be written. Adam’s thoughts of failure are essentially at the root of his success not taking place. 

Having the belief that something can and will work out for you is where everything starts. If Adam holds on to the thoughts that he can achieve his dreams and follows it through with action (writing his material), the the possibilities to what he can achieve are endless. But if he chooses to hold on to the doubts and focuses on those more – then he closes the door; blocking his own success from coming to him, period. 

So warriors, I ask you – what have you been believing about yourself and your life that needs to be challenged and changed? What would you like to achieve or see happen, but are doubtful about? 

I could give you a long, cliche list of motivational sayings, but instead I’m going to leave you with something that resonated with me when I needed it the most. This is something I still draw on whenever I need it…

There was a season in my life when the time was coming for me to transition from a part-time (but consistent) job, to an agency job which didn’t guarantee me with consistency, but would have an open door to more money and more hours. I wasn’t entirely sure whether I should take the leap of faith into the agency lifestyle, so I sought out advice from my mum. I remember saying to her, “but what if it doesn’t work out?”. 

My mum simply responded to me, “what if it does?”.

Her response hit me like a ton of bricks. I was so focused on things going wrong, that I didn’t take the time to consider what it could be like if things did work out! It sounds so simple, but when you’ve become conditioned to the mentality that “things never work out for you”, you totally ignore the possibility of something going well for you for a change. After weighing it up in my mind, the joy and freedom that I envisioned was so strong that I had to give it a try. Of course, I also waited for confirmation for God before I jumped into it also. So before you say it, I’m not encouraging you all to make mad, unprecedented decisions without applying wisdom. However, I am encouraging you to not allow fear of failure to prevent you from trying altogether. 

So what’s the point?

Warriors, I share all of this with you to encourage you all to make a conscious effort to work on your perspectives this year. Life can get so much better for all of us regardless of whether we are sick or well. But I have come to learn that life getting better for us isn’t always dependant on our circumstances. Especially for those of us who are dealing with chronic illnesses and pain. 

Don’t believe me? 

Why is it that there are people in the world who have everything a person could ever dream of; health, money, great career, family, friends – and yet they have no peace or satisfaction with life? This is because the issues they are facing are internal. When it comes to dealing with issues that are internal, the external things cannot and will not always fix it. Sometimes this can come down to their perspectives, the way they view their lives.

Isn’t it interesting how the person who has good health can be just as dissatisfied with life as the person who doesn’t have good health? Again – it’s about perspectives!

This is why we must seek to change the way we view and process things on the inside of us. Once we make an effort to seek the beauty and goodness in life, we will find it. Once we find it, the external will then be impacted and changed to us because our perspectives have changed on the external (as a result). Through God, I am able to have the right perspectives that are allowing me to enjoy my life again, even as a person that is dealing with chronic migraine. 

So warriors, if you want to have a more positive perspective on life (yes I used the p word!), then it all starts with our speech and thoughts about ourselves and our lives. That is where it all starts, then it goes on to evolve. But let’s make sure everything is in alignment with each other. Don’t think something great about yourself but then speak something out of your mouth that contradicts that same thought. You can’t grow anything good from contradiction and confusion about yourself. 

Set your goals, make them happen and see a great change come about in your life this year warriors. 

“As a man thinks, so is he”

Proverbs 23:7

The choice is yours, but choose yourself over your sickness this year. That doesn’t get to dictate everything over your life – including your goals. That’s on you.

Until next time warriors,

Tasha M

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MRI tomorrow…this should be fun!

mri pic.jpg

So tomorrow is the day I finally have another MRI…will be posting about this. Pray for me warriors!

Tasha M

@PainWarriorCode

My Fight With Hemiplegic Migraines…And Anchors

I experienced a hemiplegic migraine attack for the first time. I wanted to share my experience with you and hopefully encourage you in the process.

Good Afternoon Warriors, I hope you are all having a decent weekend so far.

I wanted to share my experience with you and encourage you in the process.

Some of you may have seen that I posted a message on twitter, facebook and instagram, highlighting that I experienced a hemiplegic migraine attack for the first time on Friday.

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SO what happened?

Well I had been fighting off a migraine that had been lurking since the beginning of the week. I was quite successful in praying it away until Wednesday evening. It felt like an annoying – but normal headache. I figured it would have softened to a manageable level by the time I woke up on Thursday. However, that wasn’t the case…

I first woke up about 2 hours before my usual time. I felt EXTREMELY hot! I assumed it was because of the weather and attributed it to that. Thus, I spritzed myself with water and went back to sleep. When it was time to get up, I had woken up in a nightmare; the whole left side of my body was dead. My face, arm and torso couldn’t move. I felt an excruciating pain in my arm, as well as an intense throbbing in the left side of my head. This was extremely out of the ordinary for me because most of my migraine attacks usually take place on the RIGHT side of my head, or across the whole of my frontal lobe. My breath was also short and I was struggling to breathe.

Was I having a stroke? No I couldn’t be…I remember reading something about migraines being closely linked to strokes. About people having migraines that felt like a stroke…or people having a stroke that felt like a migraine…or was it about people having what they THOUGHT was a migraine, when really they were having a stroke? GOSH I COULDN’T REMEMBER!

So I panicked.

All rational thought had dispersed and I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly, so I dragged myself to my sister’s room next door. God is good because he used my sister. She helped me to calm down. She praised God and prayed to him for me when I couldn’t catch enough breath to do it myself. Once I calmed down, I was able to focus on putting my trust in God to sort the situation out.

By the end of the day, the feeling in my hand returned. But that was about it. In my head I wondered if I should go to the hospital, but I decided there was no point – I was already in enough pain and struggling to do anything. How on earth was I going to get dressed, go to the hospital and sit underneath blinding lights and crazy noise (remember I’m hypersensitive to BOTH) for countless hours, only to be given paracetamol? PARACETAMOL DOESN’T EVEN WORK FOR ME ANYWAY!!

The following day I was still in a lot of pain, and my arm/torso still felt like it was being tormented with pins and needles. The only description I could give at the time was “my arm felt like it wasn’t a part of my body anymore, like it was a separate body of it’s own”. It has been three days since it started and my arm still feels a bit disconnected sometimes, like it’s an add on.

After doing loads of research, I came to find out what I had experienced was a hemiplegic migraine: which are more rare than other types of migraines (according to the medical sites I’ve read). They differ greatly from the migraines I usually experience. The articles I read highlighted that they usually happen as a result of a mutated gene. They also pointed out that it sometimes takes people days for their body to fully recover and feel normal again after such attacks. So I’m keeping my head up and trusting God that it will pass. That I won’t have to experience this again. But I am reminded that if I was to experience such an attack again, God will be with me just the same. After all, he promised in the bible that he would never leave me nor forsake me. He also promised that he will be with me during the difficult times;

“…listen to the Lord who created you…I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

Isaiah 43:1-2

Warriors, what I experienced was frightening and made it very easy for me to panic. However after some time of reflection, I realised something; it’s important to have an anchor. That anchor is what pulls you down. It helps you to regain your senses and to think clearly when you are panicking. That anchor is the person you can trust to be 100% honest with you because they only ever have your best interest at heart. Now God essentially is the one who keeps you sane, upright and enables you to bounce back during situations that wreak havoc on your life. That being said, he will also place people around you to anchor you down and talk sense into you. Those people for me are essentially my sister and my mum.

Pain warriors, I encourage you to figure out who your anchors are – the people who you run to in times of need when you aren’t thinking clearly. They don’t always have to be people who are around you physically. For some of you, they might be people who you contact straight away online or via the phone. They might be friends or even colleagues who you work with. Once you have that individual in mind, take a moment to give thanks for those people. They have your back. If you feel like you don’t have one, trust that you will get one eventually, even if its through the spoonie communities online – that’s absolutely okay. Because that anchor will understand your struggle better than anybody else!

We all need someone to anchor us down when we are losing grip of everything. I urge you to hold on to your anchors, because they hold on to you.

Have a great weekend warriors. I’ll be sharing my update about my chronic life journey in the next few days!

Tasha M

@PainWarriorCode