We continue on with our Wonderful Women series with Nellie! This woman is such an amazing mother, wife, and friend! No matter where you are at in life I’m sure this will hit you deep! Please note: although a hollistic approach worked best for Nellie, consult your treating physician on any medication changes.

 “It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy.”
– Unknown

It’s easy to be thankful when things are easy, but the real test of faith comes in the difficult moments. When it feels like you’re going through hell, finding gratitude for the experience can be a difficult pill to swallow. I’ve had some of the most humbling and challenging experiences in the past couple years that have tested my ability to see the good in even the most painful situations. From pregnancy, to poverty, to keeping my peace while the chaos raged on around me, noticing the beauty in it all has allowed me to maintain my strength.

After navigating a medicated life with bipolar, borderline, and obsessive compulsive disorders for nearly two decades, I took a leap of faith. In early 2013, I began the process of discontinuing my use of psychiatric medication. The journey that has since ensued has been the most breathtaking and enlightening process I’ve ever had in my thirty years of life. Next week marks two years of being completely medication free and thriving and these two years have made way for some remarkable new beginnings. Throughout it all, I made a choice every day to see the beauty in my pain (and there has been plenty of it) and rise beyond my fears whenever I found them threatening to block my success.
Knowing where I am today, it’s much easier to look back and see how much of a gift all the painful moments truly have been. I do not believe that God presents us with pain and suffering to punish us, on the contrary, I see these experiences as gifts that allow us to discover our true Divine power. There are some raw truths I’ve had to learn and accept that have allowed me to stay on top of my progress over the years, lessons that only come by triumphing through adversity and choosing to move past my fear and anger.

Faith

I am a highly spiritual person and I’ve come a long way to get to the this place. For a long time, especially in the throes of mental illness, I was beyond angry with the idea of God. Especially with the people who tried desperately to make me believe in one. The word Faith seemed vile to me. I associated it with my worst picture of control and indoctrination. But throughout my spiritual awakening, I started to understand how much bigger this word is than many closed minds give it credit for. If you’re a religious or spiritual person, Faith might mean towards a higher power. But even if the idea of spirituality or religion irks you, Faith is just as important in your healing journey, even if the definition changes slightly. Faith could simply mean you have faith in your own ability to persevere, faith that tomorrow is another day to start fresh. Faith means hope and you have to hold onto that with all your might if you want to survive in this world.

Resentment

I spent a lot of years being angry at other people for my problems. I even stooped low enough to intentionally make them hurt in return to soothe my own ego. What a trap that was. Resentment and revenge in no way EVER helped me to feel better or heal. It only drove me deeper into despair. Only by owning up to my own participation in every situation, acknowledging that my shit stinks just as much as the next persons, and taking responsibility for my own internal condition was I able to get on the other side of my suffering. Revenge, vengeance, animosity, hatred, fear… they don’t work. Allowing yourself to go to those places is allowing yourself to give into the darkness. And it IS a choice. Choose the light instead. Choose love, understanding, and acceptance. Choose COMPASSION…

Compassion

With compassion, resentment fizzles away. With compassion, true forgiveness is possible. Forgiveness is a powerful thing for healing, but the transformative power is lost without compassion intertwined. When we can mindfully put ourselves in another person’s shoes and attempt to understand their world views and pain, it helps put anger and resentment into a much different perspective. It helps us realize how fragile and connected we all are. And once you really understand that, fear and loathing melt away with it. Learning to default to compassion for yourself and others is the strongest foundation you can build for yourself.
Nellie Russell is a devoted wife and mama, writer, and artist with a passion for life. You can find her blogging about spirituality, health, happiness, and holistic living at AdalmarLife.com.

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