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We’re already to Day 21 of Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge! Today we’re talking about adversity. “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” – Mulan True or false? When do you bloom best?
True. Immediately, my mind goes to the Bible verse that speaks on being refined by fire. The verse relates that even gold is refined by fire and perishes, but trials and tribulations should refine faith and strengthen belief. This is a verse that I’ve found comfort in during times of adversity in my life. When things seemed hopeless, I tried to remember that I can be strengthened by these things or I can perish. It’s a thought that I’ve come to a lot in the last months of my life.
To me, it can be easy to let depression, burnout, and that “woe is me” attitude get to us when we live with chronic health conditions. Especially when we live with multiple conditions as so many of us do. It’s easy to fall prey to “the world is against me” and “nothing good ever happens.” It takes strength, faith, and belief (in a multitude of things) to stand against that and thrive in these conditions. The toughest part is that even living life with health conditions, we also just have everyday life things that happen to us. Relationships fail, bankruptcies happen, we lose our jobs, family members and friends pass away, our houses burn, we get in car wrecks. All of the everyday things happen to us on top of living with health issues.
That makes keeping a positive attitude difficult because it can feel like the world is against us when all that piles on. For a 24-year-old, I feel like I’ve seen a lot of adversity. When I look at my peers, they haven’t struggled in the same ways. My grandfather committed suicide when I was 11. I watched my grandmother suffer from Alzheimer’s for many years before passing away. I was in a serious car accident in high school. I have type 1 diabetes, PCOS, and endometriosis. My brother’s house burned to the ground a few years ago. My parents are separated. My dad has type 1 diabetes too. Not to mention quite a few private struggles within my family and my personal life….things that I can’t even disclose. Sometimes I’ve felt like I was a walking description of Murphy’s Law.
Because of all these things, I have some amazing gifts though. I have empathy for almost any perspective. I understand hurt and pain, both physical and emotional. I have depth and maturity that not many 24-year-olds have. I have relationship insight that not many others have, spending hours researching how to make a marriage survive. I have strong coping skills. These things make me a beautiful, rare blossom. They make me proud of who I am today and where I’ve come along the way.
Having adversity in our lives doesn’t mean that we are destined to beautiful and rare things. It’s possible to get swept into the current the other way. It’s possible for adversity to harden us, leave us with negativity, and turn our hearts cold. But I think for most of the diabetes community, we’ve taken our adversity and turned it into something better and beautiful. We’ve used our negative events to create positive outcomes within our lives and others. I hope we all continue to do this, especially as the world is struggling in such big ways this week.
Go, blossom, and be beautiful.
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)