Turn Your Failure into Success and Pursue Your Passion
January 27, 2023
Anna was a bright and vibrant young girl who had her whole life ahead of her. Unfortunately, the tragic event that happened when she was an adult put tremendous strain on her nervous system. Her doctors declared it impossible for her to continue her studies, let alone take on risky programs like studying in another city and living in a hostel was a challenge. But Anna refused to be held back by such negativity from others, and her mother helped a lot in this as she was determined to prove everyone wrong.
It’s ironic how the worst period of your life can begin at a time when you’re at your happiest.
One would think that something as life-changing as what happened to me would come with many warning signs. And yet, that day as well, up to the ‘moment’, had been as typical as ever. I spent the day taking classes, had lunch with some friends, and then returned to the hostel for some much-needed rest. It was only when I woke up that the trouble started.
As I got up, the terrifying jolt of current went through me. I immediately know something is wrong, and with the help of a friend, I reach the Medical Center. Within an hour, I was confined to a wheelchair and referred to MH. I’m still not sure what has happened, but the feeling of wrongness is in overdrive. And then the second stage hits. My entire right side was paralyzed when admitted to the emergency center.
I’m told I was unconscious for 3-4 days, toeing the line between life and death. When I regain consciousness, it is in my mother’s presence, having come from Lahore to look after me. Even now, in my half-vegetative state, I don’t understand what is happening, but more importantly, the doctors are at a loss to explain my condition as well. After consulting with numerous doctors and undergoing many scans, a diagnosis was reached, with the news that I had had a paralysis attack accompanied by a nervous breakdown.
For an active and social person like myself with an excellent academic background, what came next was akin to hell. I couldn’t begin to comprehend how my life had completely fallen apart, with even my friends who came to visit shocked at my condition. I was given at least six months of bed rest, with an even longer recovery time, and became highly dependent, unable to even get a glass of water for myself.
However, I refused to resign myself to a life of despair. Knowing that if I left my studies right now, I’d never be able to get back to them, the moment I started to feel better, I convinced my mother to let me go back. It was then that the magnitude of my situation hit me. My batch had already graduated, and hostel issues forced me to stay in a private hostel. There, my medical condition made it impossible to live appropriately. I’d have severe fits that would leave me unconscious, triggered by the faintest of anxiety and tension. I’d also been a bright and sharp student before, but now my mind felt sluggish and like I had lost touch. I began to fear that the world was passing me by and began to retreat within myself.
I had some support from my friends, but it was nothing compared to the discouragement most people sent me. They saw me as fundamentally sick and not fit to study. Many times, I was told to leave my studies and go and focus on my health. It felt like nobody understood my predicament, and I didn’t feel like there was anybody I could truly confide in. Only my mother knew I was suffering, yet she was powerless to help.
You either lie down and give up or push back when life pushes at you. I’d promised my mother that I wouldn’t let this situation hold me down, and I began to fight to uphold that oath. Dragging myself through the most mentally taxing and torturous period, I had my Master’s mid-defense finally rescheduled. Even then, right before the scheduled date, my condition deteriorated sharply, forcing me to miss it. A different person might have seen that as life telling you it isn’t meant to be, but it simply reinforced my resolve to never give in. Due to health issues, the date had to be postponed thrice more before finally, after a couple of months, I completed it.
With my mid-defense done, I plan on further working on my final defense and completing my degree.
Anna gave us a message: People always say that moral support is integral to everything. Accurate as that may be, my experience has taught me that only so far others will be willing to follow you too. Ultimately, the only person you can genuinely depend on is yourself. No one else will accomplish what you want, just as nobody else will know the value succeeding holds besides you.
Life is like a rollercoaster, replete with ups and downs. It tests you constantly and makes you dig deep until you think you’re running on fumes and have nothing left. It is at this time when, more than ever, your willpower is what gets you through. Refusing to be beaten down helps you find the hidden reserves of strength to battle through the steepest of challenges, even making achieving the impossible possible.
In conclusion, Anna’s story inspires and motivates all of us. It shows us that no matter how difficult life can be, with hard work, determination and persistence, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve our dreams. She is a great example: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Nuwan Samarapathi is a NLP Coach, Motivational Trainer, and Self-help author.
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