Recovering From a Crisis
Every sickle cell crisis leaves scars, bills, unforgettable experiences, etc. The trauma, pain, fear, and depression that sets in, do not only eat me up, but also drain all the hope out of me.
I own a scar for every fall. Dark and visible cuts that reflect on my self-esteem.
Accepting the reality
After accepting my condition, I battled with dealing with the reality of sickle cell. The thought that I have to live with this forever makes me shiver. It has taken me forever to deal with this reality I do not even wish for my enemies.
But not fully...
Yes! I accepted my condition, but there must be a cure or way out somehow. So I wasted my time chasing permanent solutions while life passed me by.
My mother felt guilty for my pain. We would go from one church revival to the other, hospital to hospital, herbalist to herbalist looking for a solution. To be honest, all this only drained me and fed on my focus.
Looking forward to looking better
Anytime I came back home from the hospital (either from a regular check-up or long admission), I would look in the mirror and compare it with my last glow up picture. With time, I got used to the negative transition when I’m sick, and the glow up after I fully recover.
After a while, I caught myself looking forward to those glow-up moments while on my sickbed. The excitement would make me smile when I imagine how elegant I’d look when I was well. My healing process began to speed up and I discovered that having a positive attitude helps in this endless journey of pain and torture.
Leaning into what makes me feel better
Focusing on the good days sent a spark of light into my darkness and the joy that filled my heart was enormous. So I encourage myself to be positive as much as I can. It was my latest sickle cell discovery.
Writing also helped me a lot. It kept me busy and creative while helping me pour out my emotions on paper. I could remember everyone complaining that I spent too much indoors because all I did was write, write and write.
I find that self-encouragement is very powerful when it comes to survival. Especially in this time and age where almost everything you think about is available to get. No one has the time to uplift another. Everyone is busy uplifting themselves.
Be positive in all your affirmations and mean them. Let your spirit feed on positivity so you can find the strength to thrive. Give yourself a pat on the back and believe that you are equal to the task like everyone else.
Celebration is a need when it comes to existence. Unfortunately, many people overlook the little victories. If you made it through a term without getting sick, got admission into law school, or sold your first product, celebrate it.
You came this far. It’s a lot to celebrate. Celebration makes you look forward to the next win.
I once posted on my WhatsApp status “Lord, I’m grateful for it all." A viewer responded “how can you be grateful for all you have gone through and are still going through. I replied, "Yes I’m grateful because life could have been worse." I’ve met a few people who go to the extent of saying “it would have been better if you were not born."
A letter to my fellow warriors
I feel your pain and how slowly it drains and eats you up. The torture and stigma are unbearable. And the bills would stop coming. It is hard. I know. But I also know that you’re still here doing your best and that is enough to be grateful for. Especially when you live with sickle cell, and death could have taken you a long time ago. But here you are - living, learning, fighting, and achieving. Be grateful for that.
You need the grace to see the good in everything. Even on the worse days.
For me, the chance to breathe, with or without an oxygen mask is worth being grateful for. I find the victory in the small things most people overlook.
How is your mental health right now?