Survival is an interesting thing. When faced with danger, do you fight, flight, or freeze? (Previously known as the fight or flight response.)
I’d say that I freeze, but a very surprising few people actually say fight. We usually think we either flee or freeze. But you’d be surprised just how often we fight.
My Dad said to me over lunch “If I had to go through that again, I’m not sure that I could.” And I told him “Of course you could. We do what we have to.”
“We do what we have to.”
Okay, let me just say, I was super surprised by how wise that sounded when it came out of my mouth. #superproud!
But there’s a lot of truth in it. We are faced with danger, with battles, an unfortunate amount in our lives. And what else is there to do, but to fight?
People with chronic illnesses call themselves warriors. It actually took me today to realise fully what that meant (I’m still surprised by my own ignorance, and I even have a chronic illness! Whoops!) It isn’t meant to sound arrogant, it simply defines how we have to fight every single day of our lives – fight against our own bodies, and occasionally the people in charge of our care. There is literally no room to choose flight or freeze – there is no option to run away, to freeze and do nothing about it. We are forced to continue fighting. Because if we don’t, who will?
So yes, people with chronic illnesses are absolutely warriors! I’ve witnessed a lot of people that have it a thousand times worse than me, but I never see weakness in them. All I see is an incredible amount of strength. They are never without some level of pain, never without fatigue. Always pushing through to live the life that they were given, and to create a life that they deserve.
What about mothers? Women who literally tear their bodies apart to give birth to their children, then spend the rest of the years of their lives fighting sleepless nights and constant worry. If that’s you – yep, you’re a fighter too.
Look at this year! This year we’re all warriors. We are all fighting for survival against a pandemic – against the stress and trauma that it is inflicting on us, on our economy, on our lives. So don’t tell yourself that you’re not a fighter, because you are. We’re made for survival, our brains are wired for it. And guess what… So are our hearts. Ever heard the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” (You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t, just saying!) I truly believe that. Every loss, every heartbreak, every illness, every trauma, every accident… They all one have thing in common – they make us fight and they make us stronger.
We do what we have to.