Grit and Determination

Sometimes you need a pep talk and it’s ok to give yourself one. I find it really helpful. List off the things you have overcome in your life. The tough times. The times when it was sheer mental strength that helped with your battles.

If you are strong mentally, and let’s face it, that can be challenging. But, when you are, you can walk that extra kilometre. You can get up while your family sleeps even though you want to hit snooze. You can rationally change your whole diet. You can actually love everything you do.

My pep talk to me is a short one but they are things I’ve achieved that I am very proud of. Twenty years ago, seriously I don’t feel that old, but yes twenty years ago I gave up smoking. This is a difficult addiction to beat. I did! Cold turkey! Yes I was a cow for a few months but I did it.

The second was the birth of my daughter. With my son, who’s birth is an outstanding achievement but I was scared. I had some intervention and it took my body a long time to recover. Once I realised that I would not die from childbirth I was able to tell myself this is a pain I can deal with. I did everything I wanted to. I had her in a birthing centre. I laboured on my feet as I had read this helped with a quicker labour. My husband slept beside me after my daughter was born and woke with us. I was incredibly proud of myself.

Thirdly and finally, I look back over the last 13 years from the moment my son was diagnosed with autism. I’ve learned to not listen to the predictions the health professionals tell you. I wish I could go back to the day I took my two year old son and new born daughter to the pediatrician and say to myself perhaps you should ask your husband to take the day off work. Or ask your Mum to fly up to Mackay, you might need her. Not because you would be devastated as I never have felt that but because they would help you when you were told: your son may never talk. He may not live independently. He may not work or marry. Back then it was all new. But I always wish I said to that pediatrician from honky tonk town you don’t know me.

You don’t know how much I will love him. You can’t measure how far belief in your children will help them. You have not met my family. You don’t know how resourceful I am. You have no idea what we will do for our son. You don’t know who I will be prepared to drop from my life if they can’t get on board.

These are the things I remind myself when I need a pep talk. You will and have faced tough times. But you will persevere. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t compare your struggles with someone else who is worse off. There will always be someone worse off. Someone told me once there is no hierarchy in suffering. I love that. So have a pep talk with yourself. Remind yourself what you have overcome and be kind to yourself.

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