There were times during the worst years of illness, where I honestly wondered if I could make it through a day.
There were times when all I could do was lay on top of the bed and keep breathing. Believe it or not, that in itself took effort some days.
When all thoughts of anything else had departed my mind for lack of any energy to just hold those thoughts in my mind, the only thing I aimed at was the thought “Just stay alive.”
If all else fails, if you manage to do nothing else (as was likely), just stay alive.
I knew this was important from experience. I knew that, if I could just ‘be’, just remain where I was, just ‘get through’, even if that meant doing nothing more than laying on the bed then, sooner or later, the tide would turn, the sun would rise or at least a few of its rays, even dim ones, would break through. Its likely something to do with the chemistry of the brain (being hopeless at the sciences I’m taking this on faith), but sooner or later, with the passing of time, something changes in the brain…sometimes we can’t tell why our mood changes, lifts, even a little, but it does. There are a whole host of possible explanations…psychological, physiological, spiritual, emotional, food-ological (yes, sometimes, bizarre as it sounds, a sugar hit can help), sleep-ological and other ologicals I can’t think of.
But things do change.
I knew that and I knew that if the only way to reach those changes, to give them time to come, was simply to survive, to stay alive, then that’s what I had to do and if that meant doing nothing more than laying on top of the bed for indeterminate periods of time, then so be it.
During that period I redefined success in my mind, stripped it down to what was, for me, its bare essential components, or component.
This, for me, was a redefinition of success:
If I could get to the end of the day, and I was still alive, then that, for me, at that time, was success.
That meant I could get to tomorrow, and even if tomorrow simply meant repeating the whole process over and over again, then that’s what I’d do.
Over time things did change, I progressed and improved, even if agonisingly slowly at times. But change came and strength and hope returned, tiny step and breath by tiny step and breath.
So I will say again, I redefined success as simply this: If I could get to the end of the day, and I was still alive, then that, for me, at that time, was success.
As I’ve stated in the title of this post, that may at first appear a negative thing, but in fact, when you think about it, when I think about it, its actually a beautifully hopefully thing, a life affirming thing, a truly somewhere amazing thing. Even if it is only seen in retrospect, as so many things are.
Its one of the reasons I love the title of the book by Janice Galloway, “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing”.
Thanks for reading…and always always always retain hope, whatever it takes to get you there 🙂
ps. This is one of those posts where I want to go back through it and revise it ad infinitum. Even as I type I can see a hundred ways I want to edit it, change words, improve descriptions, alter meanings even slightly for ‘even slightly’ can have a big effect. But I won’t, I’ll just let it go…