I cannot emphasize enough how important this has been in my healing. I really learned the importance of this in 2012 when my son and I spent a month visiting my family for Ethiopian Christmas. We knew it would be the last time before my parents went to retire back home in Ethiopia. So, we wanted it to be the best memory wise. Boy did that happen for sure. My son got a chance to get to know his grandparents and uncle. It was the first time we saw them since we had moved to the Southern states in America.

I had not been feeling well so this was my chance to visit everyone and get recharge my motherly batteries. I spent a few days going back and forth to a clinic for symptoms related to a whopping cough and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I was thrilled to get a chance to renew my friendship with my oldest friend. She hadn’t seen me since the past summer. Mom wanted me to enjoy myself and not stress knowing my body was in the beginning stages of stress and anxiety condition.

I spent an afternoon with my friend who introduced me to my Northwest members of a support group that I had at that time recently joined. It was like getting a welcome back party with so many people. Since most of them had heard my story from my friend it was a chance to hear some feedback about what I should do in my situation.

For months, I had been suffering from a digestive condition that caused me to have excessive nausea and diarrhea. It began with going out to dinner and having salad with my steak meal. As soon as we got home I ran to the bathroom and began the first symptoms of this mysterious illness. I tried to look up whatever information I could find to explain what was happening in my body.

It wasn’t until my trip home did I finally get some answers. I had concerned several people about this including my mother. I grew thinner and more tired. My son and I spent most of the days with me on the couch recharging my low body battery and watching him play on the floor. What I had no idea was that these were the symptoms of what we now know as excessive stress and anxiety.

This close group I had met would be only part of my current support system. Several of them wanted to help me when I was coughing from the mysterious coughing I had. We tried cough drops of all sorts. It helped a little than I would need another. By the end of the get together they all wanted to keep in touch with me so I didn’t feel alone during this strange situation in my life. One other thing that was brought to my attention was that I shouldn’t travel back until my health had improved. I agreed to that until the night before my returning trip.

That evening I had spoken to my son’s father about the symptoms I had been having. He told me that I needed to return to get medical care. I tried my hardest to explain that I was getting proper medical care and couldn’t travel. The call ended with me feeling defeated because I couldn’t say no and take care of myself. This whole time my son and I were improving and enjoying our time in Washington (even with my aching body I at least knew we were taken care of by my family).

The next day my life changed drastically. My son and I returned with the assurance that I would be receiving the medical care I needed to take care of my needs. Sadly, that was not what happened. I did have a follow up appointment with the doctor there and she advised that I have an endoscopy to check my digestive system. I was not able to have that happen due to the price. Subsequently, I silently suffered through another several months of discomfort. In the end that same support system was there to give me virtual assistance with advice and positive reinforcement. None of that I was getting at my current dwelling.

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