A NEW FOCUS

When we are going through an illness, we tend to put all our focus on treatments, procedures, and recovery. Our lives become centered on the process of healing. Even the people around us become focused on our illness, taking care of us, getting progress reports, and so on. Everyone around you concentrates on the illness you face and simple talk becomes centered on things like how you’re doing, what treatments are you going through, how do you feel, what’s the chance of reoccurrence, and so on. Sometimes you get so bogged down with your illness and recovery that your mind feels like it’s going to explode. That’s when you need a new focus.

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When I was working towards recovery from mental illness, my life centered around my illness, and what I needed to do to get better. I had to direct all of my attention on the battle before me. Everything else in my life was at a standstill, even relationships. It became important for me to put myself first. I had to go to therapy, do my homework for therapy, take my medication, keep appointments, and battle my inner demons. It was a lot of work and a lot to focus on.

During my recovery process, a friend insisted on setting me up on a blind date with a guy named Lou. I wasn’t sure I was ready after a bad relationship led me to the mental health hospital. Was I ready to date again? Could I trust another guy? Would dating be a distraction from my recovery process?

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I debated on meeting Lou, but my good friend, Kelly, and my therapist encouraged me to give him a try. So I agreed to one date. Before I knew it, I was falling in love. Within six months of dating, Lou proposed to me. Before I knew it I had a new focus, a focus on planning a wedding and a focus on a new life with a man who spoiled me with love. For the first time in a long time I had something else to think about.

Lou went to therapy with me to learn about my illness. My parents had invested a lot of time in helping me get better. My mom went out of her way to find me help. Than Lou came into my life and my focus wasn’t just on my illness; it was on him and the life we were to build as husband and wife. He gave me a new purpose, a new meaning to my life, and a new focus. Being with him helped lift my depression. I had so many wonderful things to think about, a marriage, finding a home, starting a new life, and building new memories. I no longer had time to just center myself on fighting my illness.

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May of this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. For six months my life became centered on appointments, decisions, surgeries, and recovery. I lost touch with reality. I spent a lot of time on the couch watching movies and taking pain killers. My husband focused on taking care of me so much he put off taking care of himself.

Then I returned to work and each day customers and employees asked me how I was feeling, do I have to go through chemo, how was my recovery from surgeries, what’s next, and so on. Customers would stand in my line just to see how I was doing. I know they meant well and I’m glad they cared, but I got tired of my world being focused on how I fought cancer and recovered from it. All I wanted to do was put it behind me and move forward, but it seemed like I couldn’t get past it.

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Then Tuesday, February 12th, a reporter came to my house and interviewed me for Erie Pennsylvania’s channel 12 news at 11 o’clock. After I was aired on television, a link to the interview went online and my Facebook became filled with my friends sharing the interview. Suddenly it went viral and my friends were texting me and instant messaging me on how proud of me they were. Instead of my customers talking about how I went through cancer and asking how I was feeling, they began calling me a celebrity, they started commenting on how proud they were of me, and they started asking about the book I’m published in and so on. I suddenly had a new focus.

The author of the book, Alexander Kovarovic and members of the National Internet Youth Safety and Cyberbullying Taskforce are coming to Erie next month. I’ve been busy helping them plan events. Alex asked me to do book signings with him and to speak at an event. I finally have a new focus. I’m focusing on wonderful things that are happening in my life instead of the battle I fought.

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I have a new focus, a focus on helping others, on new adventures in my life, and a positive 2019. When you are going through an illness, it is important to put all your attention on getting better, but after you reach wellness, you need to find something new to center your life on. Find a new purpose to your life, a new beginning, and live life to the fullest. Focus on how you can use your experience to help others and center yourself on thanking your loved ones for being at your side.

It is so nice to have a new focus. It feels good to have good things happening to me and to be using my experiences to help others. With my new focus, I have a brighter future waiting for me within the light of a fresh beginning.

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