Katarina Gaborova

Psychologist In The Hague

We may stumble….give not up

Imagine yourself sitting in a front row of your favourite cinema. A movie has just started. It captivated your attention with its’ full spectrum of human emotions. As it depicts what is greatly appreciated by any living creatures. “THE ART OF NOT GIVING UP”. Let’s take a quick peek on the screen right in front of us , where we see Suzy as the main character. A young and successful business woman, powerful and inspiring due to her ways how she dealt with many obstacles to get where she was at that time. Being a part of the corporate world. Just when she thought that she had experienced almost anything, she found out that she was expecting her first baby. She was so excited! She could not wait to meet her baby girl. Everything seemed to be going great during her whole pregnancy. Until the day she gave birth. When her daughter was born, unfortunately the doctors found out that the baby’s liver was failing. Suzy’s dreams took a very different turn. Instead of focusing on bonding with a new born baby, they both needed to go through various invasive assessments, treatments and eventually to save the baby’s life , a liver transplant. All this required months in the hospital, series of operations and most of all Suzy needed to find a way to cope. As you are looking at this screen shot, you too right now may feel her anguish, fear, desperation and hope for saving her girl’s life. Do you remember when I mentioned that Suzy was an inspiration? This is why….. Nothing until now seemed as hard as this! She understood that GIVING UP was NOT AN OPTION. But what could she do? She was used to having control, plan so perfectly for many aspects of her life. But this was different. She decided to focus on her beautiful girl and making her as comfortable as possible despite of all the pain that they all have been going through. She spent all her free moments, while waiting in the hallways, on reading papers about liver transplant and recovery. She was aware that she had a limited level of energy. That is why it was important to calculate precisely where to gain some and what to invest it into. Do you know what got her through this? Learning! She dived into studying new courses in areas that she did not know much about. She also made a decision to use new knowledge to help complete strangers. She noticed that it was giving her mind a break from the stress in her situation. Filling her body with a new fresh energy. This gave her some sense of control over at least certain areas of her life. It got her through….somehow. While waiting impatiently for someone else who was holding and controlling her most important puzzle of their family life . Many months passed. Today she wanted to let others know (as this is a true story) that helping those who needed it and constant stimulation of her then overly busy mind made her feel like she was growing. Making steps forward, having some control, and seeing also positive parts to her life other than hardships, battles, and sorrows. I personally love movies that end with happy ending. Luckily so does this one! Today this beautiful little girl is already 3 years old, with a liver donated by one of her closest family members, her own dad. It will be soothing for you to know that the whole family is doing great. As far as Suzy goes, she built a new career all over again. A career that allows her to be close to her girl and combine the new knowledge that she had learnt back then in the hospital. As she stated, those experiences were tough but it was the circumstance that made her wiser, grateful, more powerful, a believer, survivor and a lot more….. I wrote this story with Suzy’s permission because we wanted to share with you that life is full of positive surprises. I really understand that it may not feel as such especially in the middle of the down spiral moments and then….something suddenly changes and we start feeling that WE GET THROUGH THIS! Steve Jobs (who was a co-founder of Apple Inc.) once beautifully highlighted this, in his 2005 speech, saying “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that is what will make all the difference.” I’d also like to show you how amazingly designed human bodies are. We may not be aware of all our capabilities until we are forced right to the edge. To the point, where we have no other choice. Know, that is also a point where our inner superhero starts taking over. Yes yours too! Evolution gave us physiologically, inner strengths, and systems, that were hard-wired to enhance our chance of survival by being vigilant and responsive to threats. These include fight, flight, freeze as well as startle responses. Our survival intelligence has embedded higher level meta-cognitive systems within our nervous system that help us to precisely calculate the situation, be cunning in our surroundings or even interpret and understand others’ actions, behaviors, and desires. Based on that information we were created to respond accordingly. As far as down spirals go, a part of life may bring a few of those. However, it may be more comforting knowing that we were designed to get through them….. WE MAY STUMBLE but NOT GIVE UP! And that will make a difference.