Coping with Setbacks

At the time I wrote this, I was just overcoming my third concussion. When I got my fourth concussion a year later, I remember going back and reading this article. During that dark time, the advice in this post warmed my heart and was a great reminder of how resilient I can be. We all have that power. we just need to remind ourselves of it.

Originally published: 10/12/2018

Physical setbacks are mentally, and, well, physically exhausting. As someone who has had to work through 3 concussions in 3 years, I want to use my predicament as a way to connect with anyone else who has experienced or is experiencing some physical setback in their own lives—maybe not even physical, but mental or emotional.

See if you can relate to this:

There is an enormous burden you carry with you every day. Although taxing, aggravating, and immense, no one can feel its weight but you.

Anxiety incapsulates your nights and moments alone as your chest aches with longing and fear, wondering when it will all end.

People want to hear you’re fine, and you tell them you’re fine because who wants to hear that things aren’t getting better? You’re not fine, not even close.

Who wants to disappoint someone with the fact that they’re not magically resilient?

Like I said, exhausting.

Although I deal with my own struggles, I know everyone’s struggles are completely unique and varying. Some of you might think my struggles are nothing in comparison to yours.

Let me just say, my purpose is genuine. This is my minimal advice to the person who feels isolated because of their pain. I write this for anyone who feels alone, frustrated, or lost.

6. Stay organized.

Dealing with an ailment is stressful enough, but throw on the demands of school, work, even everyday tasks, and life can easily become unbearable.

Your paper due on Friday is eating away at you, but you literally do not have the stamina to start. I used to feel like this often, but not anymore.

Staying incredibly organized is what has kept me afloat. I can confidently say I have mastered my schedule enough to ease my conscious. Not only do I have a weekly calendar of meetings and “to do’s”, but I actually break down how many sessions it will take to complete an assignment.

Let’s reference that paper due on Friday example.

This is how my week would look: Monday, I will come up with my outline. Tuesday, I will write the first half. Wednesday, the second half. Thursday, I’ll edit and submit. Done.

Instead of stressing about the entire paper, I only had to worry about one part at a time.

With an organized scheduled, what once seemed like too much to handle, now becomes conquering pieces one at a time.

5. Surround yourself with positivity.

Your predicament can bring you down (understatement) but what you surround yourself with shouldn’t.

Here is my humble advice:

Keep in touch with people that make you happy. Step away from extracurriculars that only bring stress. Write notes in your room that say things like: “You’re a badass” and “You fought to be here, be here”. It sounds corny, but it has helped me so much.

When I see my notes of positivity, they make me smile, and sometimes that’s enough.

You know exactly what you’re going through and what you want to hear, so shine a light on the situation and inspire yourself.

Even when I have a bad day, I know I love myself and I know I have people who love me. You don’t have to be miserable. Again, but bigger. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE MISERABLE. You can be happy.

Stay close to the simple things that make you happy.

4. Get it off your chest.

I know it might feel easier if you don’t address it and try to pretend it doesn’t exist. I know you might fall apart if you speak up. I know you might be keeping it to yourself to save someone you love stress. I know no one will understand.

Pain is not an easy thing to discuss.

Let’s face it, society makes people feel ashamed if they’re not thriving. But why do the burdened feel this additional stress over the people that are okay?...!

Talk to someone. Vent. Get it off your chest, and let it go.

Even if I’m hurting, just explaining to my mother my attempts at feeling better makes me relax. She listens; someone knows.

If you still find it incredibly difficult or you don’t feel like you have someone who will listen, start a journal. Sometime soon, I am going to create a post strictly on journaling because I find it so unbelievably important in my life.

Write your thoughts, reflect, and close the book. It’s very therapeutic.

3. Breathe.

I was stubborn with this one for a while. I would stop working, breathe for about 2 seconds, and then keep going. Stopping gave me anxiety.

I would read books about meditation, but I never believed it would work for me. Recently, I kind of just realized I had nothing to lose. The anxiety was real, and it was winning.

It was only when I decided to buy into it, did I realize how helpful it could be.

15 minutes a day – that’s all. I lay in my bed, let images disappear into the black of my resting eyelids and acknowledge the natural way my body inhales and exhales.

It’s difficult, especially for an itchy, impatient person like myself. With practice, it becomes more relaxing.

In a moment of meditation, you can find peace with pain and ease in overwhelming circumstances.

2. Tap into faith.

I know this isn’t the most popular opinion, but my faith is my everything—take it or leave it, but it is essential to my healing process and who I am.

I believe there is a plan for me. I believe I have a greater purpose. In the past 2 years, I have become extremely closer to my faith despite adversity.

And you know what? I’m really happy.

I feel like I should be more depressed but I’m not. My prayers are my lifeline as I beg for strength, peace and patience.

Whether you believe in Jesus, God, a spirit, a higher power, some kind of integral force – tap into that and stay connected.

When you do, you won’t feel alone. You will believe that you have a greater purpose than just to endure.

1. Never give up on yourself.

Although I don’t quite know how to explain it, never give up on yourself. I have had my fair share of tears, exhaustion, thoughtless moments of being…

I have tried to give up and let my predicament win, but I never could. I know in my heart I have a greater purpose.

I’m here to love unconditionally, to relentlessly try to make a difference in this world, and to discover my true calling.

You have a purpose. You are the quintessence of individuality, made up of your unique moments of laughter, heartbreak, and love. It is no accident that you are here today.

You are special. You are to be cherished, burdened and all.

Time, and pain, is fleeting. Your pain does not define you, you do. Believe in yourself.

I’m not sure when I will feel normal again, but, in the meantime, I will actively work to get better.

How? Organization, positivity, release, breath, faith and conviction.

I am here for this community always, and I thank you for being here for me. This blog has been a goal and triumph for me, and I hope it means something to you, too.

Bruised, broken or tied together, each and every one of us can make it through anything.

Never give up.


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