Aleha is a year 12 student, currently completing her EPQ project on hidden disabilities. Aleha has a hidden disability and her project has explored the relationship between hidden disabilities and mental health. She aims to support young people with hidden disabilities to develop a sustainable, positive approach to life, and encourage society to celebrate individual differences. This blog is a part of her project.
There are infinite possibilities in life: to love, to weep, to explore, to fall, to fail, to grow and succeed. But whilst we are alive, some possibilities present themselves more clearly than others. However, our mindset on life has the power to allow us to truly embrace the possibilities that life has to offer us so that we can make the most of the precious time we have. After all, is that not what makes life beautiful?
Allow me to share with you my story that opened my eyes to what life is, and how we should embrace it.
Writing my own story
We might think a toddler cannot do much more than ask why their tiny body is bound to a hospital bed. With rows amongst rows of beds in a ward fit for the oldest of our the generation, surely it is a prison sentence for an innocent child to be bound here, seemingly being punished for living. Why are their little lungs breathing in and out with each touch of the stethoscope, when they should be running free, exhausting every breath with excitement in the playground? A despairing start to my blog, maybe. But in the face of these trials and tribulations, one thing remains bright, strong, and proud: imagination.
A child’s mind morphs medicine into magical potions; the drips are now colossal vines that animals swing upon; and the feeling of weakness is simply the tingling sensation we get before drifting into a deep, peaceful slumber. All it takes is one switch in mindset and the nurses are the nymph fairies of the forest, the beeping monitors are the birds chirping and the blood magically shifts from a baby blue to a deep red only when it is seen by the human eye. And, slowly but surely, the light of imagination grows and swells, whilst the darkness that lurked so strong before, softens and fades away, black becoming grey, before finally the whole world is alight with colour.
It was through my imagination that I was able to see the possibilities of life, all whilst within the confines of a hospital bed. I realised writing my own story, focusing on the joy, light and positivity in my life made me happy, safe, joyful and above all, resilient.
It's the little things.
Smoothies. My favourite drink due to the magical memories attached to them. You may call it luck, but I call it destiny. Not far from my ward was a smoothie stand. When I was strong enough to stand on my own two feet and smile, I would slowly but joyfully make my way to the stand, careful not to accidentally take out my butterfly needle in the excitement. “A berry smoothie please!” I would beam. In my eyes, the tangy taste of the accidental orange swirled amongst the sweetness of the bright red fruit, was the perfect drink. It only took one sip to feel the fresh drink flow through and nourish my body more than any medicine in my veins had.
And what, you may ask, has this to do with destiny?
After each smoothie stand visit, the next 24 hours always had the outcome of the doctor discharging me. Nothing beats that feeling. After all these years, I haven’t found as much joy in any other sentence. Although when the moment came to pack my bags, I still remember the child in the bed opposite glaring in my direction in longing dismay, wishing it was them who could finally go home. And it broke my heart.
Celebrating all that I have and all that I am.
Today, the same medical conditions I suffered from as a child are still with me now. But I like to believe I have cured myself. My mindset was my self-prescribed medicine. Like my medical conditions, some things will never go away. But you can’t use that to ignore the power your mind holds. You can’t give up on yourself.
The title of my blog is ‘Celebrating the good things in life’. I carefully selected that because I now love my medical conditions- I now love my perspective on life.
When I look to the side, I see my family supporting me.
When I look behind, I see a world of smoothies and magic.
When I look forward, I see possibilities.
When I look up, I feel God’s protection with me.
My favourite quote has always been: “It is only in the darkest of nights that the stars shine the brightest”. I wouldn’t appreciate the days I feel healthy if I never knew how it felt to feel otherwise.
Look for the good things in life. Look for your star in the darkness. And, if you can't find it, dig a little deeper. I promise you it's there.
I hope reading this is your first step in allowing you to realise the power lies within our imagination to change our mindset and make the most of life when we feel like we lack control.
Thank you for reading.
And before you go, remember the child that stared at me as I left the hospital? I gave them a smoothie before I left. What’s worth celebrating the good things in life alone, right?