When I was doing my leaving cert at the age of 19, I studied hard and suddenly became very sick. It was just after going horse riding when I felt a strong pain in my neck and my feet and hands became very shaky. On that day I went out with friends and family and thought that my neck would probably become better after a warm shower. The next morning, I couldn’t feel my hands and feet anymore and my neck was still very sore.
I was in the middle of my leaving cert and was supposed to study. It didn’t take that long before I went into the emergency and waited for hours. One lesson to learn, you can’t be seriously sick at New Years Eve! The nurse checked me out and told me that there wasn’t a disease that would match my symptoms. She send me back home.
I got home and my dad was also just released from the hospital after having to struggle with a serious burn-out. He was meant to stay home and relax but obviously couldn’t when he found out that I was still not feeling better. After a couple of hours we went to see a doctor again. They scanned me and send me to the hospital immediately.
Long story short…
After a long and rough night in the hospital I was diagnosed with cerebral inflammation and had to stay in the hospital for weeks. My whole nervous system wasn’t working anymore and I couldn’t feel anything in my body.
My mum wanted to stay with me for most of the time but that meant that my dad had to start working immediately. My whole life was turned over and my family was very stressed. It seemed that everything at that time did go wrong.
I couldn’t see me passing my exams because I missed some important classes and it was hard to catch up. My whole family had to support me in the weeks after I was released from the hospital because I still couldn’t feel much. I never thought that something like that would happen to me.
Especially not when so many things in life needed my attention…
It’s in these moments, or months when you ask yourself: What have I done wrong? Why me? And why all the sudden now?
I really had to figure out how to get out of my misery and started with a simple thing:
Funny thing but I started cooking and baking:
I suddenly had all the time at home because I couldn’t focus for long and was also not allowed to watch too much TV. I had to entertain myself with something simple but at the same time I didn’t want to waist my time with something stupid. So I began to cook and bake. Everything from giant cakes and 3 course dinners to tasting menus and deserts. I tried it all!
Doing this was good for multiple reasons:
- It kept me busy but wasn’t much of physical work for me because I had all the time I wanted.
- It stimulated my nervous system by using my hands a lot.
- I learned how to cook and tested a lot of flavors and new ingredients.
- I found my balance and gained confidence.
It’s oftentimes not about what you do, but how you do it. I guess that’s one of the most important learning’s I made from this period of my life.
The baking and cooking could have been painting or anything else… It didn’t matter. What mattered was that I spend time with myself and focused on the positive things. I was far too busy before to realize that I actually hadn’t spend much time with myself anymore. I was too focused on the outside world that my inner self got sick.
Sometimes our body tells us to stop when we try too hard and push ourselves over limits we shouldn’t go.
That time in my life was such a time where all of the things that were happening where too much to process. It was time for a pause.
Nowadays, taking a break isn’t possible. We ignore early symptoms, we move on with our day to day life because it seems so much more important. But let me tell you, it actually isn't! When you suddenly loose a lot, you hope you to still have the chance to turn it around.
Being sick wasn’t great. Having a tough time, wasn’t great. Having to see how my family going through a hard time wasn’t great … but you’ll always grow stronger out of these moments.
- Take more time for yourself. It is so important to sometimes just take a day and finish a book, go out for a long hike or bake all the cakes or cookies you ever wanted to try. All these things don’t cost a lot of money but they will break up your routine.
- No matter what you do, it can’t be the wrong thing if you enjoy doing it.
- Listen to your heart and body. Our immune system is very sensitive when it comes to stress it alarms you before it becomes too much.
- We sometimes think we’re stuck but then life moves on anyway and everything just turns out fine.
- Life takes different journeys and you should be open to take another route.
- Appreciate the friends that stick with you during though times. They will be there forever!
Oh.. and of course I finished my leaving cert... I didn't do as well as I hoped to but "hey" that's life! It never really works out as planned.