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The Importance of Taking a Break

I am the first to push through and not stop for my chronic illnesses. Like yes I complain and get sad, but no matter what, I never give up pushing in school and in life to live to my potential. I always thought this was the best thing to do. Because you can’t let your illness win. Because giving anything less than what your healthy classmates can do means you aren’t doing as well. Trust me, I have felt my fair share of guilt, even when doing totally fine. I have just finished up my 11th month of PT school. I have had this mindset the whole time. Whenever I meet with my adviser to give her an update because I prefer to keep her in the loop to some extent, she asks if there is anything she can do. (Which is something I completely support – having support at school is essential for success.) I always tell her no for exactly the reasons mentioned above. I don’t want special treatment or anything extra that might just shine a light to the fact that I am different. That is until this past week.

This past week, the year of pushing through everything finally hit. I’m surprised it took this long. I personally felt like a zombie at the end of the week and can only imagine how I looked. It was a combo of pushing too hard in school, not listening to my body, and dealing with the realization that I am out of treatments for my GP currently. It was the perfect storm that led to a mess of a week. It sucks to admit, but it happened. There was a lot of friend support and pushing me through and a lot of crying. I ended up leaving school early Friday because I reached a point where I had nothing left to give. If I had stayed I would only be making everything worse and not retain a single thing. My adviser agreed and supported my decision to leave that day. It was hard. I have never missed class for anything but an appointment. I never wanted to miss class because that in my head meant the disease wins. But this weekend I have come to the realization that taking a break is sometimes the best thing you can do. I need to take more time for myself and realize when things are heading south and I need to step away. You know, before I actually hit rock bottom. It is hard but important to remember that there are more bumps in the road for me. More feeling sick. More emotions. This just means I need to listen to what my body is saying and take a step back when necessary as to not completely burn out. There is too much focus on blending in as if you were healthy, that ultimately that amount of time faking will finally end. There needs to be support and someone willing to tell you to take a step back, even when you don’t want to. It is worth it in the end to do what is best for YOU. Not what is best for your grades or reputation but what is best for your own sanity. At the end of the day you are the only one to stop you from going crazy.

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