life Mandy Kloppers

Staying mentally strong during tough times

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What do you do when the going gets tough? Often we think we won’t be able to cope and that we will crawl up into a little ball, hoping it will all go away. Thing is, life is brutal, it’s just a fact of life. But when life gets hard you really have an opportunity to figure out how strong you really can be. It’s often a case of sink or swim.

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis and it didn’t cause me much trouble until I turned 25. I was lucky to have found a man in my life at that stage who was not at all phased by me Cystic Fibrosis. In fact, he even dressed up as a doctor to be able to get into the medical part of the university library to read up on it. It didn’t put him off at all and he embraced my health status. Even when, at the age of 25 I had a rare blood disorder (completely unrelated to the CF) he stood by me. I wish I had appreciated that steadfast love back then but I didn’t. We went on to have a child together, a son who is now 20 years old but we didn’t stay together. Despite everything he did for me, I still felt he didn’t love me! Fast forward to 2019 and I have a boyfriend who has dumped me due to my health issues. It’s a tough pill to swallow.

I envisage my final days alone in a hospital. He said he doesn’t want to “end up being my carer.” Fair play to him in some ways because he host his wife of 25 years to cancer in 2015. However, I did tell him about my CF within a month or two of dating. he split up with me then for 6 months but we got back together.

My luck on the health side has been abysmal. Last year I was diagnosed with colon cancer, got through that and now this year have picked up this multi resistant bacteria called NTM.Abscessus and he has said he still loves me but can’t live with me.

Very sad state of affairs considering I have been viewing houses with him for the past year. Now that he has found and bought one he has said I’m not invited. Great…

What this has done has made me take a long hard look at myself and the type of men I am attracted to. I’m not blaming my childhood at all but not growing up in a loving home has certainly contributed to my adult relationship woes.

At first, I thouoght life was over. It all fet too much. My worst nightmare was coming true. I am getting older and sicker and I am going to be alone. I went through the bargaining phase and now I am entering the angry phase. This is good – it means healing is taking place.

Life is never as bad as it seems, there is always space for hope. What has helped me has been to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving even if it’s slowly. I remoind myself of all my good characteristics and know that not everyone will treat me the way my last boyfriend has. We all perceive life differently. I am healthy at doing my best to stay that way.

I also do my best not to ‘buy into’ my thinking too much. There has been a lot of catastrophising, worrying and predicitng the future and mind reading going on. Of course, there is no concrete evidence for any of this but it leads to want to head for the duvet and stay under there forever.

I’ve been sleeping a bit more than I noirmally do – an avoidance tactic but slowly but surely I am facing up to the current reality and finding strength from somewhere. I can feel self pity and to a degree that’s normal but it’s not helpful in pulling myself out of this dark hole.

Sorry if this post sounds a bit sad but it’s meant to be one of hope. Hang in there and know that you won’t always feel this way. There are many loving wonderful people out there but when you’re down it can feel very lonely. Never give up hope. keep the faith…one foot in front of the other, no matter how slowly.

Mandy X

Photo by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.