I had a wonderful time this weekend spending time with the most amazing people in my life right now – Ashley, Cathy, Michael, Dan, Aaron, Evan, and Mike – we missed you Ashley and Alyssa! – but did not have sufficient quiet time to sit with my thoughts and think of where my life has been and where it is going in the future.
This is going to be a very, very long post, but extremely necessary, and if you have taken the time to read this far, please read the entire thing.
I have always always been a big believer in the phrase “things happen for a reason.” I believe that there is a higher being out there – I believe in God and in prayer. I grew up in a family that traveled from church to church where my parents searched to find a stable place for me to build a relationship with God. I believe we have been to maybe 4 or 5 churches throughout my life as a young child up through just within the last decade or so. I have met some amazing people at the churches I have attended in the past, but it also saddens me to say that were many people that I did not feel were exemplifying God in how He would want them to present themselves in His house. There was too many cliques, much snobbiness, and not enough kindness, welcomeness, and just overall solid, compassionate, and loving people in many of the first few churches I attended. That still makes me incredibly, incredibly sad to date.
However, It was not until the last church that I was able to feel a sense of welcome, peace, and a connection to God. Somehow, and I still do not remember how to date, we discovered a church in Lancaster County – formerly Lancaster County Bible Church, but now known as LCBC or Lives Changed By Christ – that we began attending. I was encouraged by my mother and my second cousin, Lindsey, to join a Life Group at LCBC (basically a small group of people doing Bible study) to help encourage spiritual growth, help build a relationship with God, and meet some new friends. It was probably one of the very best decisions ever. I enjoyed attending those weekly sessions with amazing people. It was probably the worst decision I ever made that I stopped attending.
LCBC helped me through a time in my life when a young female adult is just growing — just graduated high school, going off to college soon, etc. I met someone whom I felt I immediately had a connection with, a passion for, and fell in love quickly. We went through some tough stuff and then eventually broke up for a while. Following the break up, I constantly prayed and prayed that things would somehow work out. They did in a way and eventually we got back together and have been ever since.
Then somehow, at my carelessness, I grew apart from the church, from my relationship with God, and things began to not make sense anymore slowly over the last decade or less. This was a mistake that I never wish would have happened. But it did and here I am typing this blog post. Again, things happen for a reason. It is not always something that can be easily explained, but I truly believe, especially now, that He has a plan. He knows exactly what is going to happen if you look to Him for guidance and love. He will be there for you. Even when no one else is.
Then in Fall 2009 I was in a bad car accident that I feel really has changed me as a person and negatively in every aspect of my life. It hurts me to say it, but it has shaped how my life is now. I realize now just how much it has affected my relationships, my health, happiness, and overall well being. I developed post-traumatic fibromyalgia from the car accident; a horrible syndrome that I wish upon no one, not even my very worst enemy. It started as severe neck pain probably about a month or so after the car accident and quickly developed widespread muscle pain, headaches and migraines, joint pain, sleep issues (Restless Leg Syndrome, insomnia, severe chronic fatigue, etc), brain fog (I have experienced this symptom just within the last two months or so, not remembering what I am suppose to being at work, where I am etc. It is extremely, extremely scary.), balance problems, weakness, a weakened immune system, TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder – severe stabbing pain in my jaw and teeth), etc. There are so, so many symptoms of fibromyalgia that after dealing with this syndrome for the past 5 years, I had to look up the symptoms I experience. Those are not all the symptoms that I experience on a daily basis, just a few that I seem to experience the most.
I have been to many, many doctors – rheumatologists, massage therapists, family physicians, neurosurgeons, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, chiropractors, pain clinics, etc – all trying to help me find some relief from this horrible syndrome. I have been dependent on some medications for pain relief for the past 5 years to attempt at living a normal life, but even with those medications, I have not been living a normal life and definitely not to the fullest. I have developed some very bad habits — especially as of late — some of which I am still thinking about and debating about the pros and cons.
Recently, a few events in my life have guided me back to talking to God, and looking to Him for guidance, love, and support. Uncertainty, low self-worth, and depression (this is the first time that I can actually admit this) have affected all my relationships with friends, family, and especially myself and I am saddened to say it has not been until these last few weeks through prayer that I was able to receive the sign that I asked for.
Some of the people I met through the church I still try to stay in contact with as much as I can. They changed my life several years ago. I know that if I need to talk to someone about God, Leigh is the person to go to. It was not until meeting the small group of friends through the LCBC Life Group, that I finally found a peace in my heart and soul – it was like an emptiness, a void that had been there, was filled.
Since my exit from my relationship with God and developing the post-traumatic fibromyalgia, my life has taken a turn in a direction that I am ashamed of and realize that now that I myself am the only one that can say “I need to take better care of myself and get healthy” and actually put words into action. I have battled with the struggle of dealing with this syndrome for several years now. It has turned me into someone that I am not proud of. I was happy and full of life and promise prior to this accident and then things just turned upside down. And because of my laziness, depression, and feeling sorry for myself, I have let myself go. I used to be like 120 pounds, a normal weight for an Asian female of my statute of 5 feet 2-3 inches. I have gained like 80 pounds because of letting myself go, medications, and not taking care of myself. The person who knows me best in this world has constantly been trying to help get better, encouraging me to eat better through us taking on a better and healthier lifestyle, low carb diet, and exercise. But I have become lazy. This laziness has affected our relationship, his life, and mine for the worst. He has always been encouraging me to lead a healthier lifestyle and I have tried, but always failed in following through with this important change.
In the last few days I have realized that you cannot lead a healthy, success life with someone else before loving yourself, taking care of yourself, and realizing that you have self-worth. Someone can attempt to push you to take care better of yourself, but only you can put those words into action. No one can force someone else to change if it is not something that they are passionate about and motivated to put into action.
My experience with post-traumatic fibromyalgia has negatively affected every aspect of my life and I apologize to anyone that was affected; how my laziness has hurt our relationships, lifestyle, and life together. I want this revelation to be something that I will help me grow to become a better, healthier person, a better friend, daughter, girlfriend, wife, mother, etc. I do not want this syndrome to affect my life negatively anymore. I have thought many long nights about how horrible it is and how to get better. It has taken 5 years of my life away. 5 years where I could have made myself a healthier, better version that could have done better at supporting friends and family, being someone that they could count on, etc. But I wasted those years. I am truly sorry for all the pain and suffering that these last several years have put upon you. You are worth more than this. Things are going to change. They have to. I cannot continue to live my life in a bubble, feeling sorry for myself, and not taking care of myself. It is going to be a slow, steady process, but this needed to happen. The only thing I wish is that this would have happened years ago.
Here is to change, love, a better life.