Have you ever felt broken? What are some possible scenarios which may make a person feel broken? Do you think it could be a frightening health diagnosis? Could it be losing one’s job or home? What about coping with the loss of a loved one? Could it be the loss of a relationship or a business? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. How many people do you know seem to lead a perfect life? There are quite few, if any, who have never had a factor which could potentially cause one to feel broken. It is part of being human.
The tipping point which threatened to shatter my life was our son’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis. All I could think of was the horrifically short life expectancies of people who have received this diagnosis. He had already experienced two years of symptoms prior to this. Our son was only thirty-one years old when he was diagnosed. It can be devastating to lose a family member, particularly from the younger generation. Initially, I lost my desire to eat and my ability to sleep. Pounds as well as hair began to break away from my body.
Last June, I went blind in my left eye from a laser eye surgery gone wrong.
It would take a speedy instinctive quest for a second opinion, three more months, an older more experienced surgeon and another agonizing correction surgery, for my left eye’s vision to be restored. Thanks to the top-notch, wildly skilled, second ophthalmology surgeon I visited, I can see much clearly now with both eyes, with no need for spectacles or contacts. However, the months during which my left eye remained blind, while filled with unspeakable worries, also served as a crash course in mindfulness.
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost has always resonated with me. As a writer, I can appreciate a good simile, and I always want to live my life like he describes in this poem. I think this logic applies to daily life, both the big and the little things. For example, I have always believed in daring to be different, and I take it as a compliment when people call me weird. The only time I go with the flow is when I’m floating down a lazy river!
This is not to say that I live some eccentric lifestyle: I’m married, we have a mortgage, and I’m scratching my head about how to keep the critters out of my garden. And as much as I would love to travel overseas one day, you don’t have to backpack across Europe to take the road less traveled!
My name is Michelle Clark and I started suffering from severe depression at the age of 13. I would just cry and cry for no reason, could not concentrate or do simplest tasks like vacuuming. I would miss two weeks of school at a time. I had a severe manic episode at the age of 17 that resulted in a hospitalization. It was during the three-month stay at the hospital that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“Oh, God,” I pleaded, “Please let me dance with my daughter again.”
That desperate plea flooded my brain during a moment that shattered a picturesque and perfect morning, several years ago, just two days before Christmas. My husband and I had just returned home from a long bicycle ride, when I remembered that our daughter’s preschool teacher had asked for a playpen donation to house a litter of pups. Caught up in the spirit of giving, it seemed like the perfect time to climb into our attic and retrieve our daughter’s playpen. I climbed the pull-down ladder and stepped into the dark and dusty space. My husband was at the bottom of the ladder, waiting for me to lower the playpen down to him. My simple act of generosity did not go according to plan. As I was attempting to lower the playpen, I slipped and in an instant I crashed through drywall, which sent me plummeting to the garage floor below.
Hello! I have a question for you all. I would like to ask how you grew up? How were you treated? When I grew up, I had asthma, and was not treated well. The thing is…no one was in those times. I would run the 100-meter dash and run out of breath after 25. It wasn’t so bad that the other children told me I ran like a truck, but when the coach did as well it made me feel I wasn’t trying hard enough. Well, I tried harder and got worse.
Some folks find this abuse depressing and are scarred. I grew to fight harder, and when I was laughed at, I learned to laugh at myself as well. It was a sad existence. Bullying is cruel but it must be survived. Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” It’s a lie that which does not kill us gives us one more thing to avoid. For me, that became everything. And it continued throughout my working life.
Founded in 2013 by Phoebe Chi, MD, PhoebeMD: Medicine + Poetry is a health information and literary arts website that aims to inspire, empower, and inform through a curated mix of essential health information, uplifting stories, and original poetry.