Finding Purpose After Diagnosis
Over a decade ago, I ended a volatile relationship that took up all of my 20s and most of my 30s. I never felt good in this relationship; I found myself trapped into marriage in spite of the awful, foreboding feelings, because I’d made a promise. I hadn’t the maturity or ability beyond gripping fear to see any real way out.
I was, on all counts, an isolated survivor trapped by a completely unpredictable and violent person. When the marriage became life threatening, I no longer felt obligated to my vow. I escaped the only way of life I had ever known.
As soon as the marriage ended, I realized I had no idea who I really was as an unencumbered, freethinking person. What made matters almost unbearable was the fact that I could not fathom what possible purpose all those lost, wasted years had meant.
Having no children or real reason for getting up in the morning, I had no idea what to do or why I was even on the planet.
Starting Over for the First Time
My new independence felt like trying to wear a shoe two sizes too big. Nothing I did felt secure. Even the simple things I did every day felt awkward and unnatural to me.
I’d lived fighting against my own grain for so long, in order to survive, that I’d lost all connection to the nature of my own spirit.
Instinctively, I recognized I’d been living on a sort of autopilot. I needed to start learning to exist for myself and figure out who I was, and I needed to do it now. For reasons I still do not know, I decided to leave my home in Florida and move to a rented flat in London.
I threw myself into a life amongst strangers in an unknown place, living a completely different way of life. Luckily, I had the forethought to at least choose a country that spoke the same language.
Living day to day, devoid of any patterns of my former life, jump-started me into getting to know and like my true self. I learned that I enjoyed learning to cook, loved listening to classical music and that I rolled my toothpaste from the bottom edge, instead of squeezing the tube. These are things that were unheard of in my old household.
The inner strength I’d exhausted from surviving a twisted relationship was returning. The moral compass I knew I always had now guided me and I listened to it.
Returning home months later was a bit terrifying, but I embraced the road ahead.
I felt like the same person I’d always been, yet I had a new set of tools to work with. I’d gained a fresh and deeply authentic code to live by and I was eager to begin my new life path.
Life after London was far from perfect, but I loved it. I worked like crazy, got into peak physical condition. After seven years, I was to marry the man of my dreams.
All those wasted years of struggle and abuse actually started to feel like they meant something. I felt they prepared me for this new, happy life ahead. I knew I would never take this good fortune for granted.
It was at this time I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Here We Go Again
So here I was again, thrust into another awful, shocking and life-altering situation. This time, no bitter divorce or move to a foreign land would shake away the attachment to a toxic life-partner.
Like a dog trying to run away from its own tail, I was in an impossible situation. I could not escape the danger this time.
I wondered how I could possibly find and meaning or purpose for this life again, especially when my diagnosis and future seemed so dismal.
I found myself living back to what was a zombie-like existence, returning to autopilot, just trying to survive each day again, with a foreboding sense of fear. Any attempt to find meaning in all this seemed a cosmic joke.
Next page: ‘I did it once, I can do it again.’