Ways To Cope With Life When Struggles Come
Life is tough.
This is something we will all discover. If you haven't yet, good. But at some point, you will realize that life can be difficult. Is living worth it? My answer is a resounding yes!!!
Four years ago, my life changed because my body changed. I began having many more health problems that were a mystery to all the doctors and specialists I went to. My autonomic system seemed to be completely broken. It was a dark time for me mentally; I cried nearly every day. My family doctor finally put me on an antidepressant after a tearful session in her office.
I wasn't alone in my fight for normalcy; my loving husband and my parents were very supportive in everything. Taking me to doctor after doctor because I couldn't drive anymore. Lifting my heavy and bulky wheelchair into their vehicles because I can't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk, fixing meals for me when I couldn't stand long enough to even make a sandwich, and helping me off the floor after countless falls.
While they were always helpful, it made me feel even more of a burden to them. My prayers didn't seem to be reaching higher than the bedroom ceiling. I know God was hearing me and answering me in his time and not mine. But at the time, I was so very discouraged. I tried to always keep a happy face and a good attitude, and I'm sure that helped some, but I still struggled with all the changes in my life, mourning the person I could no longer be. Like I said before, life is tough.
Life can still be fulfilling.
Just because life can take the wind out of your sails, it can still be very fulfilling. Yes, your burdens may be associated with poor health (yours or a loved one), loss of employment, or something else that is just as mentally draining for you.
Fill your mind and your free time with good things. What kind of hobbies do you have that will keep your mind focused on something besides the heavy burdens? I found I still enjoy reading books, either for pleasure or Bible study. I found that I enjoy selling jewelry online and making good friends through it. Even from my wheelchair, I can put a puzzle together while listening to some loud music to sing along to. That's always a mood-lifter for me! What about coloring books? It may sound childish, but it is so relaxing and never fails to quiet my thoughts and to ease tension in my body. Another hobby some have is fitness! If that is your hobby, pursue that to the extent you're able! It has so many more benefits than helping make your body healthier; it's wonderful for your mental health as well!
What about your friends? It can be difficult to maintain a friendship when you don't see the person often or are unable to travel to get to them. It seems some people will treat you differently when your health problems hit; they may be unsure about how to act or what to say to you. I know it's hard to accept. I'll be the first to admit I have shed my share of tears over it. But do you know what I learned? With the confidence of learning how to deal with my health problems and having educated myself about it, I am more confident than I was. It has helped make me a better (I hope) and more understanding person than I was just a few years ago.
Friends are an excellent way to relax, have fun, laugh, and to talk to about whatever is troubling you. Even though you may feel unlovable, you aren't. There are still those who love you and want to help and to be by your side for support.
Find a release for you. Learn what makes you laugh and what can make your heart sing. Even if your circumstances have changed drastically, you can still find something that lightens your load.
Cat Videos Make Me Laugh!
Blessings from God
I have so many blessings and I know you do too. We just have to try a little harder to see them sometimes.
After nearly two years of doctor's appointments that always left me disappointed, finally being able to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and get definitive diagnoses has helped me tremendously. Once I learned what had been plaguing my body, I was able to educate myself and others about it. I can fight what I can know about. Education is power!
Another blessing from God was in his merciful timing to my family's finances. When I became unable to work because of my health, we lost an income and had to learn how to make it on just one income. My husband works hard for our little family, and I've been proud to be his wife regardless of our finances. Every time we would pray together, we would ask God for guidance, for his help, and intervention. We never knew what was around the corner and with all my growing medical bills, my husband and I were both stressed about money. Every time we felt to be at the end of the line with no more ideas of how to bring in more income to put food on the table and pay our bills, God provided. Every single time! We prayed with faith and He heard our cries.
I've been able to make good friends through social media. While I've never met the large majority of them, it doesn't lessen the bond we have. I've come to know and love many of them as my chosen family! If it weren't for my health issues, I may have never met many of them! So I'm grateful God brought them into my life. I've met some of them through the jewelry company I work with, some through chronic illness groups, and some were seemingly random. I've come to better understand that friends aren't always those we see in person all the time, but can be those we share our hearts with and who still love us.
And what about all those you may meet at the doctor's office, including your doctor, nurses, and the receptionist? We never know who may be our next good friend. Do your best to be a light to others, no matter how you may be feeling. The gospel of Matthew 5:14 reads, "You are the light of the world". And in that same chapter in verse 16, Jesus said, "...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
It took me some time to change my way of thinking. I've always been a positive person, but day after day of bad health can really get a person down! I'm still a positive person, but I have my moments. Every few months, I have a "sad" day where I allow myself to cry, to mourn, and to be frustrated with the situation so that I can mentally handle the day-to-day things that happen. Those days certainly aren't planned and seem to have horrible timing, but it's better than keeping all those feelings inside. What a release it is to cry and then to better manage my feelings.
The first thing I learned is to give the glory to God. He is the giver of all things (Luke 6:38), the provider of every spiritual and physical blessing (Ephesians 1:3), and is the Healer (Luke 5:17). Since I am alone through the week at home, I often sing praises to him, pray, and try to read my Bible more often than I have in the past.
I also look for the silver linings in a situation. It may be raining and storming in your life, but there can always be something good to be found. Sometimes I have to ponder on it a while to come up with a something positive, but I can usually think of at least one good thing. What kinds of silver linings can you see in your life?
I'm pretty stubborn. Maybe I was born that way or maybe I learned it along the way somewhere. I've been known to be a little too independent; I don't like asking for help. I've learned, and am still learning, to lean on my support system. My husband, family, and friends are there and want to be of assistance. I hope you have those types of people in your life as well. Those who are just waiting for you to say the word and they will be at your side in a flash. It may take a little pride swallowing, but it's worth it. Life really is better and can be easier when we lean on others and stop trying to carry the heavy burdens alone.
I have also found it that it helps me by helping others in sharing what's happening in my life, like in 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 that says,
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
I can share those experiences on social media with the aim of helping someone else in their struggle.
Hymn: Master the Tempest is Raging
A quick summary
Life can be worthwhile in any situation we are in.
God's blessings are always beautiful and we should give him the glory and credit for it.
Changing the way we think can have a positive impact on our physical and mental health.
What ways have you learned to deal with life during a struggle?
Let's learn from each other and be able to help each other by sharing how we all dealt with life when trouble came in whatever form. I'd sincerely love to hear from you about it!
© 2020 Diana Majors