“Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.” ~Unknown
Lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV and massive machines, I seriously considered the possibility that I was having a nightmare. Everything felt so surreal.
At 22 years old, my life was full of promise and potential. I had recently graduated from college and it was a time of beginnings. I was living in Manhattan and had begun working in music publishing.
I had no idea that a late night trip to the emergency room due to a rapid heart rate would result in a weeklong hospitalization.
When extreme, unexpected, life changing, or scary things happen, how can we not only survive them but also grow from the experience?
1. Embrace the situation you’re in.
I was in the emergency room when the doctor gravely told me this was serious. My thyroid was pumping out gigantic quantities of thyroid hormone, leading to a potentially fatal thyroid storm. I was wheeled upstairs and admitted to the “step down” unit, one step down in care from ICU.
Hearing the doctor’s extreme words, I was shocked into inaction. I was so taken off guard that fighting or fleeing didn’t even cross my mind. I simply stayed where I was, lying on the bed, and prepared myself to accept this crazy situation and cope with whatever happened next.
When you’re dealing with a massive challenge, it’s okay to feel numb at first. You think, is this really happening to me? Disbelief and denial can then lead to a sense of injustice. You think,why is this happening to me? This isn’t fair.
As someone who had never broken a bone, let alone been hospitalized, I was in unchartered waters. I quickly realized I had to relinquish control—to the situation and to the doctors and nurses—and I had to stop clinging to my life as I had known it.
When you recognize that you’re in a trying time and accept that you can’t change it, you’re no longer a prisoner to your situation. You free yourself to deal the best you can with the challenge ahead of you.
I used to be so resistant to change, particularly when it felt like the death of life as I knew it, but now I try to embrace it and figure out how to reach a rebirth.
The less time and effort you expend resisting change, the easier it will be to go with the flow and create to a new normal.
Are you subconsciously holding on to any beliefs or ideas that could hamper your ability to let go? Are you in a situation that challenges some part of your identity or the way you define yourself, without even realizing it?
2. Feel gratitude for the good and the bad.
It’s okay to feel scared and understandable to feel sorry for yourself. In the midst of tribulation, negativity and depression can be alluring.
Gratitude is a potent tool for snapping yourself out of fear and self-pity. In almost any situation, you can find something—even if it’s the tiniest thing—to be grateful for.