Hi guys. Eliza here. And this is my truth.
When I first heard the song Stronger by Kelly Clarkson I really liked it because to me it made total sense, especially the stand out lyric from the main chorus ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’
Like most people I have had some rough patches in my life. I have struggled and learnt to live with eczema, hypomobility and emetophobia.
Emetophobia is an extreme ‘fear’ of being sick.
I know nobody likes being sick but this is different to the normal fear - it happens to roughly 1 in 100 people. The symptoms are very real and it feels like just before you are actually sick (racing heart, extreme nausea etc).
For me, it became almost constant for quite a few months and caused full on panic attacks. As you can imagine that made school, meal times and night times very hard.
Through it all I forced myself to keep thinking ‘this is not going to kill me its just going to make me stronger’.
And now that I'm through this experience, I'm more sensitive to my peers pushing through their own challenges. They could well be finding their strength - but going it alone is hard. It's cool to know you're not alone.
So I want to say: I see you. You're so strong.
1. If you are dealing with a long or short term physical illness making your life harder then some girls or boys at school, you are experiencing what they haven’t.
This makes you stronger.
2. If you are feeling down or depressed but you are finding small ways to cope, you are stronger.
3. If you have struggled with anxiety (or possibly still are) this makes you more sensitive to others struggling. This makes you smarter. And stronger.
The true meaning of strength to me is fighting. I love the lyric in that same song “what doesn’t kill you makes a fighter”.
Keep fighting. And whatever you are fighting - and it will feel massive to you - is only as massive as you let it be.
For a while my fight felt massive. It was massive. These tips helped me..
MY TOP TIPS FOR RESILIENCE
Redirect your power
We are not ‘only human’ we are incredible beings, the smartest on this earth and are capable of doing anything if we really focus on it.
So why not focus on NOT focussing? Try not giving your weakness all the attention. It doesn't deserve all of you. Don't be defined by it. Just see what happens…
Sit with the feels
People might tell you to “distract yourself”.
This is easy to say but very hard to do. There is always a tiny annoying, frustrating voice at the back of your head trying to defeat your strength - even if you don’t always realise it.
No matter how many times you tell yourself to give it a rest your ‘worry brain’ can still annoy you, right? I came across this problem many times and this is how I solved it:
Just watch your feelings. Don’t focus on them. Or question them. Just watch them. I guarantee they will pass. It might take a while and a fair bit of practice but it will pass.
It can help to take note of what your brain is dwelling on when it is anxious - maybe even write it down. This is useful as then you can look back at it later without so much emotion.
In doing so you may also relive some of the emotion - remember how hard it was, and how much you have achieved moving on. How strong you really are!
I don’t think we need to be cruel to our fears. Just acknowledge them and then let them leave. That is real strength.
I remember once when I was in the car with my mum and sister, my sister and I were both worrying about homework we hadn’t finished and being late. She noticed this and said that if a plane crashed right in front of this car would we still worry about the homework and being late? And I had to accept the fact that she was right, there were so many more awful things that could happen.
Now I know the chances of a plane crashing vs getting in trouble at school for unfinished homework are not the same. But the point is still true. The homework and the lateness were what they were now. They were already outside my control. The plane crash (if it were to happen) : also outside of my control.
I had to just let things be.
In conclusion: don't sweat the petty stuff. It actually clears away A LOT of things in your day you might have otherwise worried about!
So where does my story end?
I feel so much better than I did this time last year. But I won’t lie, there are days when my eczema gets to me, especially if it is on my face.
There are days my ankles really hurt from my hypermobility and I’m in quite a bit of pain. And very occasionally, when I’m really run down and tired, I experience tiny episodes of emetophobia.
BUT ...the difference is now I know that as time passes so will all these problems and I will come out the other end stronger.
So please know you're not alone. Keep fighting. Face your fears. Do what is right not what is easy. Practise lots of self care! And where possible keep doing things that push you out of your comfort zone - it's only going to show you just how far you can go...
Because You. Me. Everyone. We're stronger than we think.
p.s Recently I read Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (the youtuber) and I really enjoyed the storyline. The main character vlogs a lot about her fears and how she copes with them – I found it inspiring and you might enjoy it too.