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The Never Ending Battle

Just because you lost some small battles does not mean you lost the war!

Here I am thriving in my routine. The morning workouts, walks, healthy eating, balance of work/friends/ me time. Then, on a lovely weekend afternoon, the sensation of fainting takes over my body. The uncontrollable shakes mixed with the need to sweat profusely and the thoughts of confusion and panic battling the desire to ground themselves. Surprise, the attacks are back. Then, hoping it was a one-off, I carried onto the next day to then feel one attempt and one minor successful attack strike again. What does it mean? Why is it happening? I thought I was doing well? I can’t help but question my entire self. On top of that, random incidents of dissociation occur and I just sit with myself and try to recenter my thoughts. I then get a bit drained and frustrated that I’m facing this battle all over again.

But somehow this time it feels different. It doesn’t feel as crippling as it did before. It doesn’t feel as lonely as it did before. This time, instead of feeling like I need to hibernate and self-isolate to deal with them, I feel motivated to surround myself with people that make me feel good. I chose to surround myself with support and I was right to be because these people have helped me realise that I can survive the attack and bounce back rather quickly. This time around I can tell myself it’s fine and I’ll get through it. I tell myself it’s just a phase and even though I do not know how long it will last, I know there is an end. This time instead of just giving in to the fact that they are happening, I choose to research and incorporate coping mechanisms. I Google grounding techniques to help me through my dissociation and I want to implement them when necessary. During one of my attacks, my best friend Koala hugged me and it helped me beyond my expectations. It allowed me to ground myself which showed me how beneficial having people around me is. I am motivated to invest in worry pebbles that help stimulate a sensation when I begin to dissociate. Or to try box breathing, analysing my senses, reciting a song or poem, writing a journal, the list of techniques is endless it’s just about finding what works for you.

Instead of looking at these attacks as disabling and like I’ve taken a step back in my progress, I feel I’m looking at them as a way to show myself how far I’ve come. To show my resilience, my internal strength and how much growth I’ve done. The fact that during an attack I tried to remember the scene of divergent when she’s in the mental simulation and tells herself “this isn’t

real” shattering the glass and saving herself from drowning, shows me how lucid I am during my attack and that makes me realise I can get through it. Sometimes we are told that we will always carry these mental struggles with us and for the first time, I have a personal experience realising that you can cope with them instead of feeling the need to only get rid of them. Coping is enough and effective.

This experience also enlightened me on my mentality shift. Instead of wanting to slip back into a depressive state and seek comfort in the sadness that I used to find so safe and easy, this time I want to fight back and keep myself afloat. I want to stay strong and resilient. I acknowledge that I love the life I’m living and that I want to seize every opportunity and to do that I need to be in my strongest mental form.

I wrote this to share a first-hand experience that sometimes when we think we are thriving, our mental struggles may resurface but that it does not mean we are back to square one. Instead, we should take it as a symbol of how far we’ve come because now we are strong enough to continue to live life and coexist with them. Instead of attacks taking a parasitic role in our lives we can turn them into some form of symbiotic relationship. It’s helped me to hear people's experiences and forms of coping and so here I am sharing mine hoping it helps anyone the way it’s helped me. Remind yourself that you have come far and that you can keep going no matter what.

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I'm Nadine Shousha, a French Egyptian self-claimed writer who is eager to rant about everyday situations.

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