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It was close to midnight and I was sitting in my tiny cubicle-sized bedroom in London with my back against the door, crying. I was on the phone to my mother.
“It’s not fair…”
That’s all I could think to say. That’s all that came to mind. It’s not fair.
Because as I sat there, my mind racing, my heart aching for some way out of this nightmare, all I could think of was how my life was over, how I would never get better. I wondered how God could let this happen to me.
The days leading up to that point had been filled with fear, anxiety, and helplessness brought on by my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have shared my story on what I experienced in London before but I wanted to bring up that night to give you all some context, to help you understand my state of mind at the time.
It has been six months since that night and the trauma of what I went through has slowly started to fade. My anguished questioning of “Why me?” doesn’t seem so important now. Maybe it isn’t such an important question. Because is there really an answer to it? Is there a why? How do we explain any suffering?
Sometimes I’ve felt guilty about asking “Why me?” or saying the words “It’s not fair.”
What do I have to complain about in the grand scheme of things? I have a roof over my head and food in my belly.
At the same time, though, I don’t think anyone’s suffering is insignificant and I believe that I have to allow myself to feel the pain of what I am going through if I am to heal. And so I feel it’s okay to shout out “Why me? It’s not fair!” If that is what I am feeling, then I need to say it.
Perhaps the real question to ask is what am I going to do with what I have been given?
As I look back over the last few months, my immediate day to day experience of life would make me think that my recovery is hardly happening but when I contrast this moment now as I write these words, to the moment on the phone in London it’s like comparing day and night.
I think that’s how recovery always goes; it’s only in looking back that we can see the progress we’ve made.
So what have I been given?
The last few weeks have been a time of just spending time doing what I enjoy – finding passion for those things again. My guitar has been well-used, and I’ve started a blog that I am enjoying tremendously. I’m reminded I have talents, that I have something to give the world – gifts to share. Even the very act of writing this article is a form of giving.
When I look at my life now, I feel I am slowly starting to find my feet. Things are taking shape. There are still stresses and fears. I still have OCD and my mood fluctuates but every day is a small step toward full recovery. On that London night, I thought my life was over, but here I am.
And let’s just say I am glad I didn’t give up on myself.
I get a sense that something remarkable has started to happen. From my suffering and pain has come a new beginning that I couldn’t have predicted. My struggles have given me a stepping stone to start again and as the night begins to fade ever so slowly, the dawn has never looked so beautiful.
There is no right way to recover and there is no real way of knowing what path the story will take. All we can do is walk the road best we can and get up when we fall. It’s hard. Yes, it is hard. I know it, you know it, but maybe the answer to “Why me?” is “Because you are strong enough.” And just maybe you’ll emerge from this trial more than you ever thought you were.
To all who read this, I hope you will find peace and healing.
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Sebastian is learning life by living it. Born in Zimbabwe, High Schooled in Zambia, and living in Cape Town, he isn’t really sure what to say when people ask, “Where are you from?” Seb went to Film School in Cape Town and has worked as a video editor for the last four years. He has battled with anxiety his whole life and has been through two severe episodes, experiencing intrusive thoughts and depression. He is on the road of recovery and has found that peace and a life free of fear is possible.
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