It was Sunday, December 21st 2008, a glorious cold winter day with crisp-blue skies and a splendorous sun shining above the city where I live, Austin, TX, when I felt I was being born again.
I had recently just moved into a small 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment with my 8-year old daughter, after getting a divorce from her dad.
When I got married to him I thought that we would live happily ever after, and that the love we felt for each other was all we needed to make our relationship work, but then all of a sudden we divorced.
It hit me like a hurricane, destroying everything that had been my life for the past nine years.
I went from being totally dependent on my ex-husband (especially financially and emotionally) to having to handle everything completely on my own.
Although I felt some sort of relief the first few days I lived as a single parent, the truth is that I was physically and emotionally exhausted.
The whole divorce process alone was enough to drain me, but I was now totally responsible not only for myself, but also for my most precious treasure, my little girl. Failure was not an option, so I had to keep on going.
My life quickly converted into an exhausting routine.
After completing a nine-hour workday, I raced to pick up my child from school. Then it was back home to make dinner and help with homework. Next came cleaning up, paying bills, and doing errands. It seemed to never end.
Finally, at night I “crumbled” into my bed like a glacier breaking off into the water, too tired to even pretend that I could hold myself together!
I tried to be strong in order to move forward with my life, but the truth is that many times I felt as fragile as a delicate crystal.
I started having “complicated” migraines, my adrenal glands were depleted, and for the first time I experienced anxiety and panic attacks.
I tried to take care of my health by eating “healthy” and exercising. So in the afternoon of that special day, Sunday, December 21st, 2008 I made myself a whole-wheat and turkey sandwich for lunch and later I went to my apartment complex’s gym and started running on the treadmill.
Ten minutes into my workout, I started feeling itchy all over my body. Hives started to appear. I felt weird, so I left the gym and went back to my apartment not knowing what to do.
I called a friend and asked her for help because I was not feeling well. I hung up with the phone, my vision started to fade away, just like a powerpoint presentation slide’s transition effect.
The same thing happened to my hearing. It seemed like the volume was being turned down little by little until I heard nothing.
The next thing I knew, I was in an ambulance heading to the ER.
Alone, in a cold, white hospital room I found myself not only feeling sad because I no longer had a partner to look after me, or family that was nearby, but also feeling very afraid that something was wrong with my health.
After being diagnosed with having an anaphylactic shock (a very strong allergic reaction) I was transferred to an intermediate ICU.
Drugged up with a massive dose of anti-histamines, I remember feeling despair and crying in my sleep, but in the middle of my drowsiness, I was aware of a kind presence who would regularly come and check on me throughout the night.
She was a sweet and beautiful nurse named Joy. Every time Joy looked at me she did it with a smile. Her eyes conveyed a message that did not need words:
“Don’t worry, everything is going to be all right!”
I felt as if I was a devastated toddler that lost her favorite toy and thought that her life was over.
Joy was like my loving mother that was certain of my bright future yet to come.
I actually believe that Joy was an angel sent to me that night, to bring me a prophecy of hope, a prophecy of love, and a prophecy of joy.
And luckily for me, the prophecies became true!
Directed by my inner strong heart’s desire to feel good again, I began knocking on doors, asking around, and looking for anything that could help me heal myself and heal my life.
I don’t follow a specific religion, but I believe in God or in an intelligent loving force that is looking after all beings, so I setup an intention, released it, prayed, and had faith that I would be helped.
I just knew deep inside that whatever I needed to know would be revealed to me, and that whatever I needed would come to me in Divine order.
So a little bit of faith + a little bit of action did the trick for me.
All of a sudden the right people and the right resources began to appear, and my life did a 180 degrees turn:
I learned how to balance my emotions and stopped having anxiety and panic attacks in a drug-free way, or if I still had them now and then, I knew exactly what to do to manage them.
I became the partner to myself that I wished I had, I changed many of my eating and daily habits and my health returned.
And I also changed my career path to follow what truly made me happy.
All these changes had an effect on me and made me a better and more compassionate person and mom.
Looking back into my experience, I felt as if I was being born again, and I was given a second chance to live a blessed and fulfilling life with so many yummy things happening to me that I couldn’t imagine possible!
And the cherry on top of my delicious cake was that I found my best friend, with whom I now have a healthy second marriage (6 years already!).
So I am sharing my story with you because I know that even if you are going through a really hard time, you too can find purpose and bring Joy back into your life.
Regardless of what struggle you are going through, I am certain that if you keep your faith, ask for help, and take action on whatever you can do to get yourself better, things will start turning in your favor.
“Tell your heart the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself, and that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams” ~Paulo Coelho
So listen to your heart’s desires and take action right now to do something that will help you to reclaim your Joy.
Maybe it’s saying a prayer, maybe it’s reaching out to a friend or even a professional for help, or it may even be to do nothing but simply let your mind and your body rest.
Just listen to your heart and keep on going. Your life is not over yet!