The Power of a Few Kind Words on a Day I Was Feeling Unwell
A few years ago I was in the thick of illness, I felt dizzy almost all of the time and alongside the dizziness came anxiety, palpitations and crushing desperation. I had spent months bedridden, feeling horribly unwell, unable to walk more than a few minutes without breaking out in a sweat,
crawling out of bed to the bathroom when I couldn’t walk, feeling unbearably nauseous and feeling as though I would black out if I dared venture outside. I was scared. There were times I had to sit with my head on the wall, as I was so dizzy that my head needed a firm surface to lean on. I felt desperate and isolated and so wanted to live my life again.
Most of the people in my life didn’t seem to get it and a part of me hardly blamed them; I didn’t understand it myself. People would delicately wonder if it was all in my head, seeing as nothing was showing up on medical tests and the general doctors weren’t sure what it was. If a doctor says it’s nothing then it must be nothing!
After a few months I thought I was starting to feel better and so returned to work only to have my symptoms flare up every few weeks, debilitating me over and over. I was in and out of work and I know some people were finding it frustrating, none more than me.
There was a manager at work, a female manager in a very senior position whom I admired greatly because she’d made it in a male-dominated field and she was tough yet fair. She came into my office one day when I was trying to hold it together, trying to function while feeling unwell, worrying that no one really believed that I really did feel this unwell.
She stood at my office door kindly asking how I was and spoke about how she had seen one of her friends go through very similar symptoms. She said, “I know you are going to get through this because what I see in you is someone who is quietly determined and who has to keep pushing in life. You are not the sort of person to let things beat you. I know you will keep fighting this until you get some answers and find a way to manage it, even if your life isn’t the same as it was before. I know you are strong enough to do that.”
I don’t know if she knew just how much that meant to me in that moment. It was the validation I was longing for, that I wasn’t making this up, it was the belief in my strength to fight and not give up when I wasn’t sure if I believed it myself. She made me remember a part of myself I had forgotten with some well-chosen words delivered at an opportune moment.
I believe the kind words of even a stranger can help carry us through when we are in the trenches, fighting our battles. We all need well-chosen, kind words sometimes.
Getty Image by OGri