The thing that I would like to focus on today, as the title suggests, is the learning experience of our challenges, particularly what I myself have learned over the past two years of battling mental illness. Often times I feel like my problems only continue to get worse, and that life is continually going downhill. Due to a medication I started taking many months ago, I was able to live without anxiety attacks for almost six months. However, because this medication caused many other health issues, I had to be taken off. In the time since, anxiety attacks have since returned. Yet, I was surprised to know, that I knew exactly what to do, for myself, in these cases. I guess I had subconsciously taught myself how to handle it. It didn’t necessarily make the attacks any easier, and it didn’t make them end any faster; but, it kept me from spiraling out of control. It kept my thoughts in place. I have learned how, in cases of anxiety attacks, to keep my thoughts under wraps. I’ve learned to control my breathing, to keep my heart rate though, all because of the many times it’s happened before. My anxiety isn’t gone, and though it may still have power over my body and mind, it has much less power over my actions. I don’t know that I ever expected this to happen, but I’m glad that it has, and I’m sure the same has happened for many others.
Many often think that overcoming our own challenges means that we endure them until they are gone. However, I’ve learned that most of the time, it simply means we learn how to cope, and how to battle these trials. For me, oftentimes it is through skateboarding. But there are so many other things as well that I do to fight. Sometimes it’s finding ways to relax, which comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s helping others, sometimes it’s cooking, sometimes it’s studying, and sometimes it is praying. There are many ways to fight, and fighting doesn’t always mean winning. Not the “war”, at least. Sometimes it’s winning a single day, or an hour, or even a minute. Sometimes surviving is a win, no matter how defeated you may feel. To quote one of my favorite songs,
“But I can only control what happens from here
And if none of this had happened,
Then I couldn’t have heard
The angel on my shoulder
Tell me he’s proud of me…
…And it will never get easier, but it will always be worth it.”
We simply have to learn how to fight, and how to recognize a victory.
Rider: Beau Durrant
Song: "A War Inside," We Came As Romans