Rebuilding: An Invitation to Hope

Rebuilding: An Invitation to Hope

The worst year of my life was my sophomore year of college. My health was dwindling again, as it had done a couple years prior, and I getting testing done to determine if I would need another brain surgery.

There’s not much I remember about this year of my life. I remember sleeping a majority of the time, and crying almost all of the time I was awake. I remember having to run out of classes and meetings, because I was crying and painfully anxious. I remember being holed up in my dorm room, literally fearful to open the door and exit the space. I thought I had known Rock Bottom from previous years and experiences. But this was it: the lowest I had ever known.

It was determined I didn’t need another brain surgery. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a neurological condition known for causing widespread chronic pain and chronic fatigue. I found a doctor who I trusted to help me. Months later, when I was healing and shared with him how encouraged I felt about the progress I was making, he asked me if I had lost hope before I found him, before we made a treatment plan. “Feeling hopeless is the worst thing a human can feel,” he said in that conversation. I cried when I got back into the car after my appointment, because he spoke to how painful it was to feel emptied of hope, and I also cried because I was no longer there. I cried because he said the exact words I needed to hear to know he understood. I cried because I was finally rebuilding hope.

Here’s the thing about Rock Bottom: it can actually be the invitation you’ve spent your whole life waiting for. It’s up to you to accept it.

It took many months, but eventually I wasn’t consumed with being terrified to leave my dorm building. I wasn’t stuck in survival mode, just waiting for something else as crucial as my health to fail me anymore. I finally had room to think about other things. I finally had room to start to rebuild my life.

It felt like rebuilding from the ground up. It felt like starting over. It had been so long since I had the mental capacity to think about anything other than being sick. I had a lot to think about:

What do I even enjoy doing?

Where do I want to spend my free time?

Do I believe in God?

Those were a handful of questions I asked myself on a daily basis.

It felt overwhelming. When a wave of overwhelm hit and it felt like the world was spinning while I stood idly by as I recovered from my sickness and as I unearthed myself again, I asked myself one thing:

What do I know to be true?

My responses would go something like this:

“I know I am a social justice major in college. I know I love my dog. I know I believe in God and I believe God wants good things for me. I know I am good at telling the truth about my experience. I know I enjoy writing.”

Sometimes the things I knew to be true were as simple as my favorite snacks. Sometimes reminding myself of the simple truths of how I experienced life were the things I needed to feel grounded again.

Rebuilding was necessary for me after a health crisis. But I have friends doing their own rebuilding after a breakup, a rejection letter, or a major life transition.

My health is finally stable. I know what I enjoy doing, I have a more clear understanding of who God is in my life, and I feel so content with the life I’ve built for myself.

Rock Bottom offered me an invitation to something better. I’m so glad I said yes. I hope you’ll say yes, too.

Windrose Magazine Issue 2

Windrose Magazine is your guide to navigating life in your twenties through a collection of essays, interviews, and advice that will inspire you to chart your own life course, free of comparison.

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