My last post was a week ago, a day after my mother’s stroke. I am blessed to say that my mother is home now and living a normal life. She is still having some minor mobility issues with her left hand/fingers, but overall she is recovering well! I feel so grateful every day that I still have my mother here, and honestly, things have already changed a lot for her since the stroke. My mother has smoked cigarettes for decades now, and she has not had one since her stroke. She will keep an unlit cigarette by her at home and will sometimes do the motion like she is smoking it, but she still hasn’t actually smoked one. She also has only had one beer- this is the woman who has been drinking beer and hard liquor every night since I was seven years old! She hasn’t had any feelings of withdrawal, and she is doing an amazing job.
Over this week I have had a bunch of emotions come up; I found myself crying randomly at home or driving to/from work. Every time that I found myself crying, I realized that there weren’t sad tears… they were tears of joy. I was feeling so overwhelmingly grateful to the universe that my mother is okay and still gets to live a normal life. I also felt a huge sense of accomplishment for myself, because I am no longer on anxiety medication and I handled this situation better than I ever expected to. My boyfriend said to me: “I am so proud of you. I feel like if this would have happened two years ago, you would have folded up like a lawn chair” (LOL), and he is right!
In the past, I would be thinking so far into the future about “what if she has another stroke and she isn’t so lucky that time?” or “what if she stops taking her medications and starts drinking/smoking again?” To be fair, these thoughts have obviously crossed my mind, but I am able to redirect them and remind myself that we can only take life day by day. The other day when I found myself asking those hypotheticals, I said to myself: “Today my mom is alive. She has not had a cigarette, and she hasn’t had any hard alcohol; today is a good day.” I am finding it easier and easier to rewire my bad thoughts into thoughts of gratitude or positivity, and realizing that made me break down in tears (more than once).
For a long time, I truly thought I would never be able to get off of my medication. I thought I would have to rely on them forever and I would never be able to truly handle my emotions or traumas on my own. And don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being on medications for life, especially if they are working to keep you alive and well. I just always have had this goal of being able to come off of my medications and truly see if I can handle things “on my own.” For this event to occur while I have been off my medication for seven months, and for me to be able to handle it well without shutting down, feeling guilty, or continuously looping terrible future scenarios over and over again in my head, I am impressed with myself.
I always find myself choking up when I tell my boyfriend that I never thought I could handle anything like this without medication or without having panic attacks. I am insanely proud of myself for continuing therapy, reading self-help books, and listening to some eye-opening self-reflection podcasts. I honestly feel like the hard truths and hard questions are what has helped me be able to make progress in my brain. I feel like I’ve just reached this goal that I once thought was unachievable, and I just want everyone else to be able to do the same thing. I want people to cry tears of joy because they can see and feel their own progress. I want people to see life in a new, more positive light. I want everyone to do the hard work for yourself, because you are always worth it! We all truly deserve to be the best versions of ourselves, and we deserve to be proud of ourselves. I hope everyone has a great week ahead. ♡