From Survival to Revival, or The One Where I Open Up

Yay…the kids’ bedrooms are coming along nicely…only 16 days until the big reveals.

Wait — ahhhhhhh…only 16 days until the big reveals!!!

Excuse me a minute while a take a couple of deep breaths………………………………………..

Okay, I’m better now 🙂

So, I realize you were probably hoping this post would include a whole whack of progress pictures and maybe some details of a recent project.  Well, I hate to disappoint, but I have decided instead to finally open up about why A GRAND REVIVAL is not just about documenting the revival of our 122 year old Gothic Revival Cottage.

A GRAND REVIVAL was also created to help revive my own personal spirit and help me get in touch with the creative part of myself that was lost in the chaos that was 2011.

Why did I need a personal revival, you ask???

Well, pour yourself some tea, sit back, and I shall divulge.

Here’s my story…

In my post Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, I mentioned that 2011 was a year of unprecedented change (and not the good kind).

Interestingly, 2011 actually started off with on a positive note.  Both my children were attending school on a full-time basis for the first time, and I was all set to join my local library board, begin looking for employment after staying home with the kids for a couple of years, and make more time for some of my interests and passions: writing, visiting museums and art galleries, spending time in nature, and fostering a healthy, simple lifestyle.

I also had an amazing birthday, complete with bowling, a couple of beers, and some best buds.

OUR BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION BEER CUPS — I WAS BDG (BIRTHDAY GIRL)

THE “CAKE” BEFORE THE STORM

However, the day after my birthday, I began to feel a little icky…not quite right…at first I thought it might have been from staying up a little too late and having a couple of drinks (I am not much of a drinker).  But the icky feeling got worse, even after some rest.

SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s what happened next:

January

  • myself and both kidlets came down with various maladies…me a virus, the kids had bacterial infections
  • luckily, the kids got better after a week — me, not so lucky
  • I soon developed a bacterial infection and was fevered on and off for about two weeks
  • I barely ate, barely moved = weak
  • after a warm shower, I fainted and was rushed to the hospital because my heart was beating like crazy
  • when I got to the hospital my heart was beating at 146 beats a minute!!!
  • after a bunch of x-rays and tests, the doctors concluded that my heart was fine, just under duress from being sick and fevered for so long
  • it took me two more weeks to recover
  • having never been as sick before in my life, this experience shook me up quite a bit

February

  • after I recovered, I was slowly feeling up to getting back to everyday life again
  • but then I received a phone call that would change my family’s life forever
  • on February 19th, one of my younger sisters passed away in a weather-related car crash at the age of 23

DEAREST GWEN, WE MISS YOU AND YOUR WONDERFUL LAUGH

March and April

  • as you may well imagine, for the next couple of months of my life, I felt quite lost and confused about life in general

May – December

  • as Spring arrived, I felt a strong urge to return to a place of familiarity…so, I returned to school (I know, I’m weird, but I have always enjoyed and done well at school)
  • I was able to complete my studies from home…it was good that I had the opportunity to still be around during the summer and to bring my kids to and from school, but being at home all the time soon became quite lonely
  • most of the Spring, Summer, and Fall felt like I was in survival mode — just trying to make it through the day
  • I became lethargic, and slowly began to put on weight

Summer

  • with Summer came more bad news: a number of our loved ones were having major health problems
  • this meant helping out and lending support every chance we could
  • the Summer of 2011 = high stress

Fall

  • as Autumn approached, I realized that I was feeling pretty low and sad more often than not
  • I am an independent person, who likes to figure out my problems on my own, but this time I realized that I should speak to a professional about my experiences and depression

My Road to Revival

1. Therapy

As 2011 made way for the dawning of a new year, I was beginning to feel somewhat rejuvenated and more like myself again.  I owe a lot of this positive change to my decision to seek help.  It is a shame that Mental Health issues, although so predominant in our society, remain something of a taboo.  To see a therapist or counsellor equals being weak; this is so far from the truth!  To me, admitting that you need help is a sign of strength.  Honestly, I think all of us would benefit from talking more about our feelings and insecurities.

2. Self-Care

This past year, I have remained committed to my self-revival.  This has included eating better, exercising more (I even practice yoga now, lol), focusing on what makes me happy, and developing special relationships with the ones I love.

3. Seeing the Silver Lining

One of the most important steps in my recovery and revival has been focusing more on the positive in life, and viewing the events and tragedies of 2011 in a new light.  I finally recognize that everything I went through last year has only served to make me stronger, more empathetic, and more passionate about living a purposeful life.

4. Turning Talk Into Action

My best friend made me a card that some may think is somewhat rude.  It says:

MAKING $#IT HAPPEN on the front of the card and TALK-ACTION=ZERO on the inside of the card.

I, on the other hand, immediately put the card near my computer as a reminder to actively pursue the type of life I desire.  For example, not just talking about how I want to write again, but actually writing again — what a novel concept!…pun not intended, haha).  Turning my talk into action resulted in the creation of this blog and finally taking steps to revive our home, two things I had wanted to do for years.

Now, in the 8th month of 2012, I feel like there is no looking back.  With every day, I am closer to becoming the strong, confident, happy-go-lucky woman I remember so fondly.

I AM REVIVAL GIRL, HEAR ME ROAR!!!

Thanks for listening.  Also, thank you dear readers for your continual support.  I hope that opening up about my journey might inspire others to take the necessary steps to move from survival to revival…life truly is so much better on the sunny side of the street!

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8 thoughts on “From Survival to Revival, or The One Where I Open Up

  1. Oh Angela…..I really understand. It seems you and I have startlingly similar stories. This year has been pure hell for me and it’s not over yet, but I can already feel a change in me. I liken it to the phoenix rising from the ashes. Pain and tragedy does change us….but sometimes for the better. I know that it has forced me to see the beauty in everyday things. Xo

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time this year. They say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”…however, they never mention how “what doesn’t kill you” also really hurts and kinda sucks! It is great that you are trying to focus on the positive…even with all the hardship in the world, there is still so much incredible beauty, peace, and love. All the best to you and yours. Big hug from across the pond.
      Angela

  2. Thanks for your honesty and your fearless attitude! As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for many years (gotta love that heredity, right?) I always feel so relieved to see people like you regaining control, facing their demons, and talking openly and honestly about these things. Breaking that taboo gives others strength.
    (And thanks for the shout out on the sidebar, BTW!)

    • You’re welcome. It is nice to know I am in good company :)..though, I am sorry to hear you have also struggled. When my depression and anxiousness was at its worst, I didn’t really want to speak about it to anyone but my husband. I remember feeling strange that most people had NO IDEA of the internal struggle I was facing. Once I started opening up more about my mental health, it became more real somehow, and I discovered that everyone I spoke to had either been through hardship or struggled with fear, loneliness, and/or depression at some point in their life…which helped with my recovery. So – hear, hear for openly talking about the “hard” stuff and embracing honesty.
      Cheers.
      Angela

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