Posted by: karenevoss | March 12, 2012

I Am Strong

By K.E.Voss

March 12, 2012

“I will give you a new heart, a new spirit within you, for I will be your  strength”. –Deep Within, David Haas

Strength represents a person’s ability to perform profound tasks. Strength doesn’t only represent physical capabilities, but those of the mind and soul.

There are times throughout our lives when we don’t realize how strong we are. Participating in athletic events, test our physical strengths. We build up muscle and strengthen our core. This allows us to lift heavy objects, animals, and people. We are able to compete on levels which tests our muscles as in lifting barbells or finishing a triathlon. Having a strong heart allows us to live our lives to the fullest.

Strength lies within you, a phrase many have heard before, but not everyone believes. When you move forward in life after an act of nature, a terrible illness, or a traumatic event, you prove to yourself and everyone else that you are strong. It takes a frame of mind to combat any negative energy, which are circling around you and convert it into positive energy. The positive energy is what will get you through anything challenging in life.

I’ve been told many times that I am strong and I take this compliment in more than one way. My physical abilities have allowed me to try new classes and events through the Y (MCA). I am currently competing against other Y members in the Idle Ironman, which is a complete Ironman competition in thirty-one days rather than seventeen hours. This consists of 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles cycling, and 26.2 miles running. This August, I will compete in my first triathlon; the Danskin triathlon in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin which consists of a half mile swim, 12 miles cycling and 3.1 miles running. My strength not only stems from physical abilities, but also my mind and soul capabilities.

Many times over the last seven years, people have told me that I am strong. For three years now, I’ve been dealing with a traumatic life event, the death of my husband, Russ, by suicide. Before his death, I dealt with Russ’s mental illness of being bipolar and the negative auditory hallucinations he experienced such as hearing thoughts telling him that he isn’t good enough. Mental illness is a tough concept to deal with from the outside, but within a relationship it is even tougher. From the day we met in 2004 until his death separated us in 2008, we stuck by each other for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. I had to remain strong for myself and for Russ every day for the four years we shared together and then for myself in the last three years. I didn’t believe I am strong until people kept telling me. Even today I don’t always believe it at first, but then I realize how far I’ve come on the journey I have been on.

Because I am strong, I can do things now that I didn’t think I could do before. I am strong to have dealt with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and I knew when to ask for help when grief symptoms became too much to handle on my own. I’ve learned how to mow the lawn and replace a bathroom faucet. I learned I can paint multiple rooms in the house alone and laugh at the mess I make knowing that Russ is laughing right along. I have been successful in giving a home to a kitten and giving her the love and care she requires to live a long and healthy life. I am strong within my heart for it has dealt with a lot of pain and sadness. I am strong enough to know that sometimes all I need is the love and support of friends and family to help me during a tough time. I am strong enough to write about my journey and share it with others. I AM strong.

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