So in this very interesting life of mine, I serve in a multitude of ways. From caretaking to business strategy to organization leadership to mentoring and being a ‘creative’, the list literally goes on and on however at the core, I am simply me. As I work to develop, to evolve and to heal, I identify with living my whole truth. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was very young, around nine.
Prior to my mother’s diagnosis, I lived a rather princess-like lifestyle. Only-child, two parents, private school, the joys of getting what was needed, wanted and unnecessary. All things changed once my mother’s illness began to takeover her mind. The two of us were moved away from my father and my mother experienced several years of severe depression, in and out of mental facilities. I was pretty confused and mind blown but oddly enough, I wouldn’t change the process for anything. My understanding as it relates to self-care, mental well-being and holistic wellness is accredited to having to “cope while dealing”.
With all these things going on, I was still required to go to school and be “normal”. As the years passed, my mother and I were pretty much each other’s everything. She had very good days and very bad days. She had smiling days and suicidal days; all the while I was playing the “normal” game. My mask was always on and I wanted the world to think everything was okay.
It wasn’t until 2014, once I moved away from everything I ever knew, that I began to embrace what had gone on in my life and start the journey to wholeness, the journey to “coping while dealing”. My self-care was at an all time high — while pursuing my graduate degree and working countless hours, I would spend my off time channeling energy — going to the beach, sitting alone in my room or just mindlessly journaling. I added fasting to my life and trashed religion to begin developing a relationship with God. Recapping loneliness, imposter-syndrome, alcoholism and the art of being busy to block reality; I took time to realize I had been coping all wrong.
Now, I am still “coping while dealing” but in a brand new way. I chose to turn my wounds into wisdom and share my story. By becoming transparent with my story and living my truth, I am free, I am happy, I am better. Though things are much better, they are far from perfect. However, I lean on the notion that life is 10% what happens and 90% how you respond; playing the hand I’ve been dealt as if it was the hand I wanted. In my most recent book, I talk about how important intrinsic motivation is for emotional well-being. Your opposition can ultimately be your encourager.
Self-care is important so I challenge you to join me in “coping while dealing”. Your situation may not be mine or aything similar however as long as you’re breathing, you’re dealing with something. As you deal, cope; as you cope, deal. Never allow life to consume you, take me-time, laugh a little and enjoy the process. The roller coaster of life can be just as engaging and fun as the amusement park, remember 90:10 — respond with umph and live your truth. You have what it takes to cope while dealing.
About the Contributor: Tabitha “Tiny Tab” James is a small-town girl who is coping while dealing on the daily. The “creative caretaker” is an author, mentor, strategist and transformational speaker. She can be found on several things social:
LinkedIn: Tabitha D. James