I have been trying my best to get something rather important across over the past few years. I have written about my illness, and the effect is has had on both me and all my loved ones. But now that my time writing about my brain injury is coming to an end there is a secret I wanted to share with you all.
It is difficult to explain what I mean when I talk about ‘not being my illness’. I do not mean that encephalitis has not had a tremendous impact on every part of my being. No. What I mean is that I have learnt to make the most out of a bad situation, and in doing that I finally feel like my life is complete.
This may sound easier said than done, but I personally believe that is not the case. Thankfully, the majority of you reading this will not have had to overcome something like encephalitis, so let me give you an example that you may be able to relate to more readily.
Imagine this scenario. You love nothing more than getting out into the Alps and rushing down the snow filled pistes, leaving you feeling invigorated and free.
What would you do if you had gone on a university ski trip and on the first night you fell off the table you were dancing precariously on and broke your ankle?
Would you get the next flight home, cursing the entire way about what a wasted trip it was? Would you sit in the chalet feeling sorry for yourself, while your friends were all off gallivanting on the piste? Or, would you, sit out on the hotel balcony, sunning yourself in the glorious sunshine and then later use your crutches inventing new and previously unseen moves on the dance floor?
As you have probably guessed by now, I did the latter.
What this taught me (other than dancing on tables after a full days drinking on the ferry is a bad idea) is that every situation life throws at you can be changed by what you make of it.
And that’s what my encephalitis has been to me. A situation that I never asked for, that happened for no apparent reason, but a situation that I have made into something positive. Something positive, not just for me, but hopefully for all those people that I have been able to reach out to and help. It’s opened doors that I never knew were possible, and enabled me to see my role in this world more clearly than ever before.
So I suppose really that is my secret. I’m not saying it’s the secret to success or that it will make you rich and famous. But what I am saying is that if you choose to make something from what seems like nothing, it will change your life.
Stop ruminating about what could or should have happened and live your life for what it is now.
And however tough life gets remember this: everything happens for a reason.