My Story: Student learns that even a tough cookie may need help
Aimee E. Bohms, Staff Writer
March 9, 2011
Filed under News
Unfortunately, it’s rare for a person to go through life free of pain, but it can be much easier to deal with if you are willing to accept help when it is offered. From 2006 to 2009, I personally experienced 6 out of the 10 top stressors life has to offer.
Through my roller coaster ride through them, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the people around me. Most of all, I’ve learned that the strongest action a person can take in their life is learning to admit weakness and ask for help when it’s needed.
Life was wonderful. I had a great fiancé, great job, and we lived within our means and enjoyed life. I thought I was working my way towards everything I had wanted from life, which was a happy marriage and well kept home.
Life started going downhill in June 2006, when we were evicted from our apartment. We were able to work it out to move in with my best friend and stepbrother, who were also engaged and looking to buy a home under land contract.
After various roommate changes, we had 6 adults living under one roof. As one can imagine, this could be noisy and stressful in itself, but we somehow made it work.
However, once May 2007 came around, my best friend was unable to re-sign on her land contract, so my fiancé and I made the decision to buy a house ourselves. We thought if everyone who lived there currently moved with us and stayed for a year, we could make it work. Life, it seems, had other plans.
The precarious balance we had in the first house quickly disappeared and everything seemed to fall apart at once. In a year’s time: two roommates moved out unexpectedly, my husband and I got married, my husband and I both lost our jobs, I separated from my husband (and later divorced him) and had to sell my home in order to avoid foreclosure. In addition (and more than likely because of all the other events during this time), I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome.
In short, anything you can possibly think of happening in life happened to me in quick succession. I felt as if life was knocking me down and pinning me there. Every time I tried to fight, it just got worse. This was the lowest of the lows in my life, feeling as if there was no one that could help me or understand my pain.
For a long time, the only solace I found was in the knowledge that I was far from alone in my current circumstances. There were thousands of other people losing their jobs, marriages, and homes in similar ways. I told myself if they can continue to fight, so can I.
I am an independent person by nature, so by far my biggest fight was with myself and accepting that life didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but that didn’t mean my life had ended. My second biggest fight was to ask for and accept help.
Once I sold my house, I tried to break my mountain of loss into molehills and rebuild, one at a time. Even with the downturned economy, I was able to find steady work and slowly pay off my debts.
The biggest reason I was able to do this as fast as I have is because of the unending help and love from my family and friends, but most of all my grandparents. They have taken me in and sheltered me for almost two years now. In that time I have paid off all of my debt from my job loss and losing my home, as well as started going to Madison College part-time.
Since my divorce and starting college again, I rebuilt and achieved a lot for myself. After a year of attending Madison College, I achieved the grades high enough to be inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. In March 2010 I started going to physical therapy for my fibromyalgia and became motivated to become healthier and lose weight. Since I started, I have lost 50 pounds.
In April 2010, my sister directed me to apply for the activity assistant position at her work, St. Mary’s Care Center. The decision to take on that position has drastically changed my life and career path. I specifically work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, facilitating recreational activities for them that will stimulate their mind and improve their quality of life. I feel as if I found exactly what I was meant to do with my life. Therefore, I will be going to school to become an occupational therapist, so that I can continue to work with wonderful people like my residents.
The reason I decided to tell my story was because I hope that fellow students and staff, some of whom may be experiencing events similar to my own, can know and see that even when life seems to have turned against you, there is hope. It is alright to admit that you need a hand up, rather than a hand out. In short, your life can be more than your circumstances.