Failures, Breaks and U-Turns

It’s been almost a year since I posted anything on this space. And I usually don’t talk about personal matters. But seeing as that I haven’t written in so long…sharing matters of the heart seems appropriate. 

2017 was one heck of a year for me. Dating. Transitioning out of the military (smoothly, thank God). And trying to finish a degree program that required in office hours with patients for graduation – which I would up having to drop. It was a lot. It was too much in fact, because it deteriorated my health. That year was full of failures, breaks and U-Turns. 

I have an autoimmune disorder called eczema. In a nutshell, I call it the itch that is never satisfied. In fact, it’s worsened by scratching because it makes you scratch more and damage your skin (sometimes permanently). It’s painful. And once the itching is out of control, you can quickly spiral down into depression, anxiety, not wanting to leave the house or do things you once enjoyed because it can aggravate your condition. Oh and to make things even more challenging, now there’s a whole entire list of foods (some of which are healthy) that I can’t eat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to zip someone’s mouth shut when they said I needed to have more than a salad at some restaurant I didn’t ask to go to, because I was already so skinny. Or, when they keep asking “What is it again you can’t have?” (As if I didn’t already explain 20 times…AND give it to them in writing). and did I mention stress aggravates my condition? So people who make these types of comments are ones I don’t deal with unless absolutely necessary because I’d have to have a filter…and having a filter causes too much stress. I’ve found it’s so much easier to just say what’s on my mind – unadulterated. But most people can’t take what they dish…so it’s a lot easier for me to just avoid them or deal with them only when necessary. 

I’m on this thing this year and beyond about complaining. So I don’t consider what I did complaining. It’s disclosing to hopefully help someone who doesn’t understand my condition at all – understand it. Because another thing people say is that it’s all in your mind when the truth it’s in your biological make up. 

But one thing that this condition has done is made me a bonafide overcomer. Taking that year off was part of what I didn’t know was a lifestyle overhaul. Before my life was full of stress from not wanting to offend people and because my skin was getting worse. Now, it’s one where I focus only on doing things and spending time with people who will help me heal. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen because when you have as many food allergies as I do it’s your safest bet – because you have far more control over what’s in your food. And I don’t mind saying that I’ve become quite the cook. I move my body at least 5 days a week with the goal of making it 7. I’ve become resourceful in finding research and support groups that prove how people have overcome this without being dependent on commercial drugs for the rest of their life. I spend more time reading God’s word and praying. And I avoid at all costs or as much as possible those things that cause undue stress. 

Although I don’t enjoy having this condition, it has made me stronger. Resourceful. Tenacious. Protective of personal boundaries. Quite the planner. Quite the chef. And it’s made my faith in the Lord change in a way I don’t have words for. It’s brought me back here, doing part of what the Lord created me to do. To write. About life and all it brings. For me. For Him. And other women who need to know they can overcome. 

So here’s to 2018. Being the year of bouncing back from failures, breaks and u-turns. 

Afi (pronounced Ah-fee) Pittman

Afi is a blogger and author. Her mission is to help you overcome your life, relationship and professional challenges.

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