What I learned from my month of hell

In July, my life was hell.

In a way, it was a long time coming.

Three months before, I moved back to Malaysia after three years of living in Australia. The decision wasn't easy to make. In fact, I had spent sleepless nights since July 2014 wrestling with the idea.

Adelaide was quiet, peaceful and gorgeous. But I was terribly homesick and felt that my dreams were struggling to be realised there. In the end, I took the leap. I wanted to return to steadier, more familiar grounds in order to seek clarity and direction.

I came back way too fast. Not a great idea. But once I returned, it felt right. I enjoyed being with my friends and family again. Better, I was offered a job before I even hopped into a plane back to KL in May. I felt lucky. Blessed.

But life speeded up very quickly after that. Too quickly.

My new job's hours were unconventional: I work 4pm to midnight. Always a fussy sleeper, my sleep was affected. At best, I was sleeping five to six hours a day.

Then I had to settle several very messy financial issues. I had to zip from lawyer to bank to insurance company. And if that wasn't enough, I was also studying part-time; an intense course that demanded at least 10 to 15 hours weekly.

In July, my body said: "Enough. If you don't want to stop. I will".

Boy, did it! Rashes erupted on my body in places I wouldn't t wish upon my greatest enemy. My ears even turned red!

If things were hard before, it became utterly impossible with this illness. I could barely cope with my studies because the constant itch and pain cut my sleep short. All my attention went to finding a solution to my problem, which seemed to puzzle even the specialists. I stopped writing my novel.  Swimming was something I took pleasure in. And even that was taken away because my body was reacting to everything.

It was hell.

Three rounds of antibiotics, five visits to specialists and a few hundred spent on ointments and creams later, a dermatologist narrowed the cause down to eczema and a bad reaction to antibiotics .

Eczema is often stress-related, what do you know!

At first, my reaction to all this was, "This is so unfair! Why me? Why now?" But in the end, I realised that a series choices ended me where I was. Fortunately, I'm almost recovered now. The nightmare that was July taught me these lessons:

Make Health a priority

Often, we pursue our dreams at the expense of our health. But when you're ill, you can't pursue what's important to your soul.

You're not Supergirl

In hindsight, I could have deferred my course as I had so much on my plate. But I was reluctant to lose the money I had invested in the course. I basically prioritised money over my wellbeing.

Money isn't everything

So what if you lose a few dollars? Sometimes you need to make yourself a priority, not your piggy bank.

It's time to be selfish

I also realised that I often make my decisions based on other people's well-being. It's time to be selfish and put myself in the No.1 spot.

It is time to change

I now consider it a gift that I fell sick. My body was warning me that I wasn't doing something right. It was time to reevaluate and make some serious changes.

What about you? Have you reached a breaking point where you realised that things had to change?

Photo by Eutah