Have you ever had your breath completely taken from your body? I heard the splash next to me and I knew that my baby sister couldn’t swim. A sense of fear came over my mother. My stomach began to flip like I was riding Space Mountain at Disney World for the first time. Thankfully my big brother instincts kicked in and I jumped into the water and pulled her out of pool and into the arms of my angry father.
As I reflect on this event from my childhood, I am reminded that life is full of many “sink or swim” moments. As a stroke survivor, I am reminded of the many times in life that I have tried to swim without a lifeguard.
As I reflect on the “Swim at your own Risk” sign above, I realize that I have often tried to live my life without a lifeguard. As a stroke survivor of almost four years I realize that there are many takeaways from trying to “go it alone.” Please allow me to share:
Boundaries are necessary to living a full life. To try and live a life without boundaries is to live a life without joy and peace. Boundaries are the limits I set for myself. It is not about what others do but what I choose to participate in that matters. As a survivor I have been forced to set boundaries for myself in areas such as doing home therapy, personal finances, and choosing a healthy diet. It is not always easy to stay focused; however, my end in mind of living a long and happy life keeps me motivated on a daily basis.
There is a sense of security knowing that others are there to pull you out of the deep end if you need help. As most survivors of trauma know, the journey to recovery is slow, painful, and arduous. Without the help of family, friends, and loved ones it is difficult to stay on the path to success.
No matter how much it hurts now, someday you will look back and realize your struggles changed your life for the better. It is important to remember that you are not alone on the path to recovery. Be grateful for those who have stepped in at the appropriate times in your life
Not having a “lifeguard” on duty means that we are responsible for our own choices in life.
Keep fighting and stay positive!