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  • Writer's pictureMadison Paige

Pressing Rewind: The Uphill Battle

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Have you ever sat down and reflected back on a time that changed your life? Maybe for the good? Maybe for the bad? Regardless of if that time in your life was positive or negative, it impacted your life, your personality, your mentality, and future.

Sometimes this life altering event can be just that, an event. Or it can be a series of events. It can sometimes even be a time in your life that you may not have thought was impactful at the time, but ended up being monumental in the long run. In these certain situations we can either look at them and hold a grudge at these stages in your life, or we can look at them as uplifting moments that changed your life forever.

For me personally, I have been dealt multiple cases that I look back at, and think if I handled that particular situation differently, my life would look vastly different now. My life changed forever in 2012 before I could even wrap my head around the fact that it was even changing. My first spinal surgery took place in 2012, the second in 2014, and the final one in 2015. During these tremendous life changes, I managed these issues the best way I knew how, and leaned on people around me.

This story is about how 2015-2016 changed me and who I am, more than any other time in my life. It's like that Sam Hunt song, 2016. "I'd take 2016, and bring it back to you."Instead of a break up story or how a boy broke my heart, this is about how life itself took everything out of me. At least that is how I looked at it back then. I always encourage a positive mindset and positive thinking in this blog, and I always tried to resemble that through my surgeries and recoveries and throughout my mishaps and heartbreaks that life threw at me. However, this time in my life impacted me as a person in the most negative, yet eye-opening way. Having a positive and clear mentality for four years I believe took such a toll on me, that when another bad incident happened, I threw my hands up and did not know how to deal with it.

In 2015, I remember laying in a hosptial bed in Manhattan at 18, looking at my mom telling her "I think this is the surgery that breaks me mentally." That moment is engraved in my mind like handprints in concrete. The previous three years had consisted of, surgeries, procedures, chronic pain, tears, doctors visits, punches in the gut, missing out on a teenage life, heartbreak, and misery. I had a gut feeling that this surgery was going to take more out of me than I had the stregnth to endure. I guess my gut was trying to warn me, because that is exactly what happened.

Now being 18, my parents weren't allowed to stay in my post-op room overnight. It was now up to me to try to handle nurses, doctors, questions, and my pain level on my own. Yes, there were visiting hours but, it wasn't the same and it was definitely not what I was used too. I recall my anxiety being so intense in post-op that I had a panic attack as my mother was forced to leave the room. Couldn't they see that I was still young and needed help? This was just the beginning of the demise. Throughout the next 6 days being in the hospital, I had no choice but to put my big girl pants on and handle the situations that were being thrown at me.

On the 7th day, I didn't know it then...but that was the beginning of the next fight for my life. The next few months, threw me and my entire family for a loop and that is when mental health, depression and anxiety entered my life. I started prescribed medication when I was 16 for and was on medication until I was 20. Anyone who says that these treatments don't effect you mentally are kidding themselves. There were some days where I was on so many medications I had a mini duffle bag to hold them in. Again, they were all prescribed and were all monitored by my mother and my doctors. However, between the ruthless recovery of spinal surgery and the after effects of the many medications mentally and physically, lets just say my mental health went to the gutter.

In January I started having three panic attacks a day, I couldn't leave the house, and I felt as if I couldn't even form a full sentence. My mom is the biggest rock star and if it wasn't for her, I don't know where I would be. My future sister in law, just started dating my brother during this time. She was one of the biggest aids that I could have ever asked for during this time. Never in my life would I have thought I would be in my closet, half dressed, in fetal position, not even knowing how I was going to dress myself. I thank God everyday for those who helped me through these times.

After a few weeks of these instances went on, I knew I needed some professional assistance. I found a therapist and that is when everything shifted. I wish this is the time in the story when I say that everything turned out great, and that was the end of the horror. However, this was just the start of a very long uphill battle. I was in therapy sometimes twice a day, going to physical therapy, still on a walker from my surgery that past December, dealing with pain, and trying to go a day without having a panic attack. The mental burden, stress, and weight that came with this surgery was terrifying and overwhelming. I was grateful enough to have a therapist who knew how to deal with complex circumstances and together we came up with a plan. I was enrolled in an outpatient program and was there full time, although I was allowed to sleep at home. I was there for 6 weeks and it changed my life forever.

Having to open up, having to be honest about my fears and my anxiety, truly started my ability to be authentic with myself and I learned a lot about mental health during my time there. I was so angry about everything that I had to endure throughout my journey. Having to miss out on prom, high school, dating, friends. Then on the other hand, dealing with so many side effects from medications, like multiple stomach ulcers, Intracranial Hypertension, anxiety, gaining weight, injections, pains, tears, tragedy, and depression. Everything was coming crashing down because it was being built up, and for years I was just putting one foot in front of the other.

Spring of was time to now make a choice. Do I let this battle rule my life or do I take charge and face reality and handle the task at hand. I always say to myself "you cannot control what is out of your control." and, "God does not give you a task that you cannot handle." I truly believe these situations were brought into my life for a reason. Even though I may never know that reason; I am secure in knowing that I am a better person because of these circumstances, and I have learned so much about myself, others, and I have found my passion of wanting to help others.

Why am I choosing to press rewind? Why am I bringing up what happened years ago? Why am I bringing up a hard thing that happened in my life? I like to reflect on these situations because they were crucial in my lifetime. They may have been tough, but they were critical in turning me into the woman I am today. Sometimes we burry issues deep down because they are hard to deal with and we don’t want to come to terms with the negative impact that they may have on us. In reality, some negative issues often lead to better times, and a better tomorrow. We can often find the good in life, the good in situations and allow it to help us be better in the long run….if you allow it. Facing hardships, facing brutal reality, facing heartache, has allowed me to remember to find the good in every day. I have found a new strength in myself that I never knew I had before. Strength comes from heartache, whether you want to hear that or not. The hard truth is, trying to figure out how to take that anger, and heartbreak and turning it into something powerful that can change your life and mentality.

Use those painful moments and use it as fuel to make yourself a stronger person. Life doesn’t beat you down to keep you down. Stand up, face it head on, and become a better person from it. You can't always control the situation, but like the song "2016" says, "I'd take the wrongs and make em right." Take control and create the life you dream of.


Madison Paige

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