What I Gained From Nearly Losing My Mind

How a health crisis helped put my work, and my life, in perspective

personal business crisis

Two years ago, after the birth of my third child, I endured a personal health crisis that was so challenging, I could barely get out of bed. I know that seems rather flippant, that we hear the term “health crisis” often, but I assure you, as a type A personality, health crises just don’t fit into my big picture. I own a bookkeeping business and manage employees. I mentor, I write, I raise three children and I try to spend as much time as possible with my friends and family in my tight-knit community. While some might relish a day in bed, it makes my skin crawl. 

So when I found myself there, laying in bed, I nearly lost my mind. And because I could barely work, without tools and a support system already in place, I could have lost my business too. 

I had a very complicated pregnancy and delivery. And three days after giving birth, I came down with a nasty case of bronchitis, pink eye and — wait for it — a case of head-to-toe hives. This wasn’t just some minor inconvenience. The hives covered me like a sheet of scales and swelled my skin so badly, it cracked in places. My joints began to swell, I could barely walk and the pain was nearly unbearable. In tears and broken, I refused antibiotics because I didn’t want to upset my days-old baby’s developing digestive system. 

At week three of being sick, I caved. I got on both antibiotics to clear up my debilitating lung infection and no less than three rounds of steroids to try to make some progress with the hives. The antibiotics made me better, and the steroids made the hives worse once I completed each round. Couple this with a smidgen of postpartum depression and adjusting hormones, and I was a crying, sniveling mess. I felt defeated, horrible. 

Clearly, I was in no shape to tend to my business during this time, but I was upset that the energy I spent building a nursery in my office space seemed like a waste. It was also hard to admit that maybe I was a little naive in thinking I was going to jump right back on the work horse after having a baby. I had done it with babies one and two, but at that point in my life, I was just freelancing; I didn’t have a staff or commercial office to maintain. But this time, to save my sanity and protect my family, I knew I’d have to scale back on the momentum I had built in my business. 

So I let go. 

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