By Kiara Tatum
2013 was a very difficult year for me. I was grieving a loss of my good friend, who died from PH complications. I had built up anger, and I was feeling very depressed and hopeless. Also, my family grew with a brother-in-law and his family as well as a new baby nephew. I started teaching two classes a semester at the local community college, so I had stress from work. I started dating which is another posting in itself. I was even hospitalized at the beginning of the year. And I was involved in some conflicts that I was getting into throughout the year because of my anger and being on that emotional rollercoaster.
But I learned a few lessons in 2013 that will help me get through 2014. I would like to share some of those things with you which you may already know or practice now.
- Let go of the anger. I’m so tired of being angry about having PH. I want a life that is not controlled by PH, a PH free life, but I know that doesn't exist for me at the moment, so I have to learn to live within the bounds of PH. By giving up PH’s control over my life, I see that I have accomplished more this year than I thought would have been possible. I've taught two classes each semester, spring 2013 and fall 2013 despite being hospitalized in January 2013 just before my first time teaching two classes a semester. I spent lots quality time with my family; I went to Boston for PHA on the Road; I spent time with friends near; and talked to friends afar. I think I have spent enough time being angry about PH.
- Be content in every situation. I was reading a devotional one day, and it talked about being content in every state. It's a hard lesson to learn, but I'm learning it. Whether I'm spending time with my family or lying in a hospital bed, I will be content. No matter what the circumstance is, I have to learn to be content. No more wanting something different, no more anger, and no more hopelessness.
- Know you’re never alone. As a patient or even as a caregiver, family or friend of a PH patient, we take on a lot of the burden all by ourselves. Situations become more difficult for anyone to handle all by yourself. There was a moment when I was so low that I didn't know what to do, so I prayed and then called a friend. She talked to me, and then after work she came to my house and stayed with me for a while. We had dinner out and talked about what I was going through. Through my faith, my family, and friends, I knew I wasn't alone and that I was loved by a lot of people.
- Have ME time. I realized that I need on a daily basis at least 15 minutes to just be with myself. I take that time to get away from others, my cell phone, Facebook, and television. I take that time to either write in my journal or read a devotional. Make time to be with yourself. This can be a time for meditation, a hot bath, or whatever you need to do for yourself to relax, renew yourself, and refresh from the day.
- Be hopeful. Stop faking being hopeful; just be it. Throughout the year, I was trying so hard to be hopeful, but I couldn't feel it inside. I was so hopeless about my situation of having PH, not being able to have a child of my own, and feeling lonely. But as I said before, I'm never really alone. I'm seeing that my family is growing, I have so much love in my life from others who care so deeply about me. I let the hope of a cure, finding love, and so much more fill me up, so that I can make it through each and every day.