My Wakeup Call

My Wakeup Call

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader's Choice 20th Anniversary Edition

My Wakeup Call

The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.

~Neale Donald Walsch

The spring and summer of 2008 was a time that changed my life. I was sick during this time and no matter what I did I just wasn’t getting any better. I was scared to leave the house, I didn’t want to drive, I didn’t eat, my mind was spinning out of control and before I knew it I sank into a depression. I needed help and fast, as my life was in a downward spiral. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with panic disorder. The doctor prescribed antidepressants and counseling. The first set of antidepressants did not work, so he gave me another prescription and between that prescription and counseling my condition dramatically improved. I was doing so well that my counselor successfully completed my program and my doctor weaned me off the medication.

Let me now take you to the spring and summer of 2012. I relapsed, and although I wasn’t as sick as the first time, I felt like my world was coming to an end. All I kept thinking was “Why me?” and “What did I do to deserve this?” My attitude was so negative that it drove everyone around me crazy. I went back to the doctor and he put me back on the medication, but that is not what helped me get my act together. My help came from my friend and from a young woman I never met. I asked my friend to pick out my next book to read and she picked out Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness. I am really glad she picked that book because the first story, titled “My Epiphany,” by Angela Sayers gave me the attitude adjustment I needed.

Angela was a remarkable young woman with an amazing attitude. She was terminally ill and the doctor didn’t give her a lot of time, but she did not let that stop her from living. She lived each day to the fullest and like it was her last. Although I never met her, she taught me a very valuable lesson. As I read her story, I reflected on my life. My illness was so minor, and yet I was acting like it was the end of the world. I realized that there were so many people out there that were sicker than me, but had a better attitude. I should have been happy that there was nothing seriously wrong with me and that I had all my body parts and that my organs functioned normally.

I learned to accept that even though I have panic disorder, it does not have me. I have days when I feel down and depressed and there are even times when I feel my mind spinning out of control, but when I begin to feel like that I do two things: I talk to my friend because she is amazing and supportive, and I think about Angela and everything she went through and how courageous and positive she was. That is enough to bring a smile to my face and turn my attitude around real fast.

~Susan Elizabeth Smith

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