Monday, October 28, 2013

5 Months

In the matter of 5 months, my life has changed drastically in almost every single aspect. I cannot begin to share every way that it has changed. On May 28th, I got sick. It didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary. After a few days, I started feeling better. However, a week later, I still hadn't gotten my voice back and hadn't really seen any improvements. One of my co-workers called an ENT office and set up an appointment for me that Friday. I didn't think it was necessary, but looking back, I'm glad she did. Since that day, 5 months ago, I have not had a voice.

It has definitely been one of the hardest times in my life. There is no denying that. I could not communicate with my family very well because I did not have a computer and could not talk. Texting was the best I could do. I cut myself off from being around friends and social settings because I figured no one wanted to be around someone without a voice and I didn't want to be embarrassed by my lack of voice. I was convinced that I could get through it on my own and that I didn't need help, because I'm an independent person. I put on a strong face in public. However, in the privacy of my own home, it was a different story. I didn't want people to see that side. I didn't want to appear weak.

This has been one of the most life-changing events of my life. There are many instances in my life where I can look back and see what has inspired little changes, but this one has changed me in so many ways.

One of the biggest things that I have had to do is to learn to ask for help. I am so grateful for the numerous friends, family members, and ward members, who encouraged me to do so and were there for me when I truly needed them. There have been so many people who have been my interpreters, ran errands for me, were patient with me and my voice, and so much more. It is still not something I am completely comfortable doing, but it has become easier.

Through this trial, many other trials came. It was almost as if all I had was being taken from me in one way or another. My strength wavered and I began to wonder if I would amount to anything or ever be able to do anything that I had felt were right or inspired to do at earlier stages of my life. However, within the past few weeks, an overwhelming peace has come over me letting me know that life is good, I am doing what I need to be doing, and that this is happening for a greater reason than I realize. This is necessary.

In Young Womens, we focus a lot on our Divine Nature. The one thing that kept me going was knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me and was so mindful of me in this situation. There were so many low points where I would be sobbing and a friend would show up at my door, or I would get a text, or someone would send me a message. I didn't ask for those, they just happened. He was so aware of what I was needing, because He knows me. It didn't make sense to me, for a while, why he would care so much, but I know it is because I am His daughter and he truly desires me to be happy.

We also teach the girls about their Individual Worth. I struggled with my self-esteem, wondering how anyone could stand to be around me, not feeling like the Whitney I was before all of this, doubting my strengths and talents, and inwardly beating myself up when others were succeeding and I was not in any way, shape or form. One day, after a good, but rough, therapy session, I came home and started crying. A dear friend came over and talked with me for a couple hours and helped me to see things differently. I came to realize that, on top of the abilities I had before, I was developing strengths that I had never realized. This has shown me not only who I am but what I have the potential of becoming.

On Saturday, I was listening a great lady talk and she said something about have a great support system that is also like a family, though we may or may not be related. It is so incredibly true. I have felt the prayers of so many people. The kind words have been humbling and the support is indescribable. My family has been great. They are my support and my rock. It is a blessing to have had them to turn to when things seemed impossible. I remember one of my homework assignments was to call my parents. It was such a difficult thing, but they were so patient an loving. My temple family has been so supportive and found ways to allow me to keep serving without a voice. My friend family has really stepped up and shown me that even though I prefer helping others, it is okay to ask for help and they will be there to help me. Thank you everyone!

I have learned that I can do hard things. Also, I know that when trials come, a way will be provided to endure them. I cannot count the times these things have happened and I have been blessed in ways I could not even imagine. Blessings come from trials. I know this for a fact. It is hard to see those blessing sometimes and often times we do not recognize them until they are hindsight, but it is so true.

Yes, the past 5 months have been hard. There is no denying that. They have also been filled with so many experiences that have changed me. I am not the same person I was 5 months ago. I've changed for sure. Sometimes I struggle recognizing myself because of all the changes that have taken place. It is then that I remind myself I am being molded in to something greater. I am being blessed.

This is not the end. There is still more to accomplish before the voice in completely back. There will still be therapy sessions. I will still have hard days. There is still more to learn. However, I know that this is happening for a reason and that some day I will see it. I'm not sure why and I'm not sure when, but it will come. I've been so blessed up to this point and I know more blessings are awaiting. Thank you all again for all of your love and support. :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chutes and Ladders, Slides, & Roller Coasters

Oh to be a child again. Those truly were the days. Don't get me wrong, being independent and all has its perks, but the care-free sensation of being a kid is very appealing sometimes. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I've never quite felt like I was ready to "grow up". I'm seriously still a kid at heart. This is probably pretty evident when my nephews and my nieces continually tell me how silly I am.

On of my favorite games growing up was Chutes and Ladders. I remember constantly landing on the chutes for sneaking cookies and ice skating on thin ice. I would always hope for the ladder which help the kitten out of the tree, but usually ended up getting the paying for a friend to go to a movie ladder. Pretty sure I realized it then, but it makes more sense now, how much that game was really teaching while we played. Good choices lift you up. Bad choices bring you down.

I Love Slides! To this day, when I am at a park, I want to go down the slides. In fact, I worked at a day care for a while. During that time, we would go to different parks. I made it my self-appointed job to test all of the slides to see which one was the best. Some were slow. Others were made of metal, so they got hot easy. Some were covered. Some had twists and turns. Some had bumps. One of my favorites had a couple of twists and a few little bumps.

Roller Coasters weren't a huge part of my childhood. I was too scared to try them. Don't get me wrong, I've been on a few. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, at Lagoon, I branched out and tried a new one, which was kind of scary for me. I'm not a huge fan of the big drops and crazy turns, in ways, but I will admit that it really was fun. After we finished the ride, I got off thinking that I had faced a fear (not completely, because there are still roller coasters that I will not ride) and accomplished something to prove that.

You are probably thinking, what does this all have to do with each other. Or maybe you are asking yourself why I am sharing this with you. There is a reason. If you look and each of these memories, they all relate to my life these past couple of months, but especially this past week. There have been ups and down, chutes and ladders, twists, turns, bumps, dips, drops and more.

Therapy is going well. One day, I had what my therapist called a breakthrough, though looking back, I would call it more of a breakdown, but it was a step in the right directions. We heard my natural voice (though still very quiet) and it came out with very little effort. I was so excited at first and still am, but then the breakdown occurred. I was so confused. My therapist, who is amazing, explained that it is completely normal and a good thing. At my next session and since then, I have been able to get some decent voice, but am still working through the issues that the breakdown brought up.

Without too many more details (because you know that you really don't want to be bored with my life and stories) there have been so many chutes this week. Basically, my life is completely different in almost every way, with the exception that I still don't have a voice and do still have stomach issues, along with a few other things. Some of them felt like major drops on a roller coaster (remember I'm not a fan of those) and some have just been little bumps or twists and turns. It has been difficult to makes sense of all of this, but even harder to realize that I need to make the best of whatever situation comes about.

On the other hand, I have been blessed to see the ladders too. Some good has come from these situations, even though it has not been the easiest to recognize and even more difficult to make sense of. I'm so blessed with wonderful people in my life from the friend who spent one evening letting me just cry to her and then indulging in brownies and ice cream afterwards, to the countless friends and family members who have offered prayers in my behalf, to those who have helped my find a place where I fit. There are those who have sent me texts of encouragement. Many have offered and asked how they can help. I cannot begin to show my gratitude for all of these blessings

For the first time in a while, I have felt peace. Peace telling me that I will be fine. Everything is working according to a greater plan than mine. I am on the path I need to be on at this time. Conference has helped. There is still so much to figure out. There are so many decisions to make and paths to explore. The small moments of peace, feeling relaxed and actually beginning to feel and act like myself, have all been tender mercies.

It brings me back to the care-free days of youth, when my biggest worries were: "What park has the best slide?" (Maybe that wasn't so long ago) or  "Will I land on the square that will take me down the chute that I have been trying to avoid?" Those were the days for sure. I didn't have to worry about the adult issues in life and got to focus on enjoying life. Maybe that is the key right there: To enjoy life, no matter what circumstances are brought to you, because you have faith and trust that things are going to work out. We are told to become like children, trusting and humble. That is my goal right now.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go to a park to play on the slides. :)