For Sarah Collins, New Year and Christmas were some of the most depressing times of the year. She in her own admission was a person who found difficult to control her own weight. A couple of years ago, her husband had left her for a woman he met in a gym. For Sarah, who was by no means a slouch at that time, it was a case of a completely bruised ego and the downward spiral of negative thinking and depression. She no longer felt that her body was attractive and took to grief eating as a hobby ultimately gaining 20 extra kilograms in a space of two years.
While others looked to find love and happiness during the holiday season, Sarah’s recluse was to spend time in the oven baking and cooking, for her cats and herself. “It was a lonely life”, she recalls, “and there were times that I believed that this is how it is going to stay. Trapped, that is the exact word, I felt so trapped, within my body and my head. There was no solace, just an endless existence where I felt too self-conscious and never thought that I can regain my life again”.
It would be unrealistic to think that Sarah is alone in such a situation, for there are others, many more people suffering a similar fate to Sarah. Dr. Mathews Chopra has spent his life dealing with patients suffering from post-heartbreak stress and finds a similar common ailment, “the people stop believing in themselves. Once a person gets rejected, they take a negative view of their self, a belief that slowly guilt traps them into taking the blame of other people’s mistakes ultimately rendering them so unimportant that they cease to exist”. A terrifying piece of information that sends a chill down my spine even by just imagining the trauma and stresses that the person involved is going through.
For Sarah, it was a feeling of unattractiveness that triggered an emotional avalanche of negative emotions. She was almost an invisible person, working at a menial job, with almost no inspiration and hope for every finding a happy ending to the story of her life. She got lucky; ultimately her step mother stepped in and made her realize that she is loved and wanted and that by giving herself no attention, she is doing great injustice to herself. She encouraged her to go out and have fun, took her for long walks, encouraged healthy eating and did away with the excessive junk food that she was consuming. It took time coming but eventually; she managed to instill belief in Sarah again. A belief that she was an amazing person who just got cheated upon – not by any fault of hers!!!
This year, Sarah is almost fully on the road to recovery. Her Facebook profile is full of pictures of Machu Pichu trek that she just completed, she has lost in just one year the extra weight that she gained, is back on the dating scene and has found friends which are happy to share their world’s with her. It has worked out well for her but even she agrees that if it was not because of her step mother, she would still be sobbing over the Christmas dinner and taking vodka shots early morning to drown her sorrows.
It was off course the encouragement of her step mother, but the inspiration always comes from inside. The ability to think positively is generated inside of you and no matter how many motivational quotes and posts you read, unless you are really willing to put everything negative aside, positive thinking will not work for you. For her it was a simple step, cutting down on the feeling of guilt and picking one small exercise that could be replicated with ease every single day. And yes that really means doing it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY
She picked up walking, it was easy, did not require as much effort as jogging, did not require her to go to a gym, a place that she was both mentally and physically afraid to go. And it was something that she was doing everyday already without even noticing that she was doing it. It also gave her time to reflect and think about her life, in the start and for the first week or so; it was her step mother playing the role of positivity to her devil’s advocate of a mind. She would sob and break off thinking that her husband leaving her was her fault, to which she would say that it was just an event. It took time, but eventually by just “walking and talking” they managed to reach a common ground.
It was a breakthrough; indeed it was the leverage that was required for a paradigm shift. And once the point was reached, progress followed. “It takes time”, Sarah smiles now “and when I remember what I did for the last few years before this, I feel a bit embarrassed”, you can almost see the sparkle and cheek in her eyes.
It is a feel good story in many ways, how positive thinking and simple exercise can shape a life of person so positively is just great to see. It could have gone down the road of depression, excessive drinking, anti-depressant pills overdose, sleep issues and could have all ended in tears but it did not.
Let us today, start following her example and start re-living our life properly. Start thinking positively and take positive steps towards healthier life – it may take time but we will eventually get there.
Photo credit: Melody Campbell
/ CC BY