PART 1: Breakdown Before Breakthrough

Updated: Sep 27

*DISCLAIMER: This sharing is based on personal experience. There are no two bodies alike so what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. Please seek professional advice before attempting any information attained online.


It has been a mindful journey stretching my thoughts into words in addressing your questions. To make it easier to follow through, I am narrating it in two parts:

  1. Breakdown Before Breakthrough - addressing mental toughness (how do I stay motivated/committed?)

  2. You Get What You Work For - addressing physical habits (how do I manage my pain?)


PART 1: Breakdown Before Breakthrough


Before life took me on a tumultuous ride, having my own mini me has always been part of my dream. There has never been a point in my life where I thought of advocating for a good cause nor is there a contingency plan on dealing with any form of illnesses. I always look at life in its mediocrity and simplicity; graduate, work and get married. Never an ambitious sort, I simply wanted to be a self-effacing mother, a loving wife to a well natured man and perhaps managing a small bakery. I envisioned living a long fulfilling life, gracefully aging, and traveling the world when I retired. Common? Yes, I know yet such a common goal feels farfetched as life unravels its plans to me. It is not as straightforward as I thought it would be before I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis in 2013.


1. SHIFTING PARADIGMS


Key points:

  • Appreciate small things in life

  • Only react when needed

  • Embrace growth from adversaries

  • Hold yourself accountable

I can never fully understand why life has taken a different route for me nor do I have all the answers to matters that I have no control of but surely as how life struggles are, they can be merciless, ruthless & ceaseless. I have lost count on how many times I’ve broken down feeling paralyzed, bone-tired & defeated. However, if there is one silver lining from being constantly bogged down is that; the more I retaliate the faster I sink. So, shifting my perspectives have been my game changer. While some problems remain unsolved (as we know Endometriosis has no cure) but it allows me to be kind to myself.

Sometimes you have got to lose your mind to find your peace of mind – Jhene Aiko

Being admitted to The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) after my second suicide attempt in 2014 is the best thing that has ever happen to me. It is the place that I needed to be for me to reach epiphany. It is where I finally get to slow down and learn to stop and smell the roses. It has also taught me to react appropriately especially on intrusive matters without discrediting my emotions simply because not all actions need a reaction. Of course, it does not happen overnight rather over the course of a year of therapy followed by constant soul-searching & introspection up to date.

Every time you go through pain it is developing something in you that can only be developed in the tough times. Now, how pain changes you is up to you. -Joel Osteen-

Letting God be God, I understand not all problems can be solved. Sometimes they are there so we could grow through it not just go through it. As cliché as it may sound, there is a rainbow after every storm. Knowing this, I channel my focus on the day to day and over matters that I can take control of. This entails holding myself accountable for my own actions. This shift in life approach has uncovered the many sides of me which I never knew existed. From winning fourth placement in a fitness pageantry to deadlifting over 100kg, from running 20km weekly (an exercise I hate the most) to spearheading Singapore’s first Endometriosis support & awareness, from juggling familial & employment commitments to elderly caregiving, I honestly do not know how I was able to get it done despite having a list of medical conditions. Taking accountability has certainly taught me to work around things and make it happen. For as long as I do not give my best (that means attempting many times), I’d dismiss any remarks which questions my capabilities. “You can’t lift heavy,” “You can’t run long distance”, “You’re not going to lose weight as long as you’re on the pill”, yet I proved the opposite. Action speaks louder than words, you wouldn’t know until you give it your best shot.



2. ASKING YOURSELF TOUGH QUESTIONS


Key points:

  • Be honest with yourself

  • Surround yourself with what empowers you

  • You’re enough

  • Start building your legacy


Asking yourself thought-provoking questions cultivates good thoughts and allows for self-reflection. It helps you maintain a conscious awareness of where you are, where you have been and where you intend to go. - David K. Williams

Once I shift the paradigms on how I look at things, next comes the hardest part and that is being brutally honest with myself for a consistent flow of alacrity to happen. Digging deep into my soul, I would ask difficult questions because only by knowing where I stand, I would be able to make improvements. I have these intimate conversations daily. For positive answers I would rejoice and pat myself at the back. For negative answers, it would follow up with a series of Why and How. Next would be following through the plans and celebrating each milestone, even the minute ones for the effort made in trying to attain control of any part of my life; be it in mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual health. Most times the plans are about reaching a sense of balance between these four elements. Some of the questions I ask myself are:

  1. Am I proud of the person I have become?

  2. Am I happy?

  3. Is my life made up of things I should have let go?

  4. Could I have done things better?

  5. If not now, then when?

  6. Why do I feel triggered by this situation?

  7. What would I be thinking if I was in the other person’s shoes right now?

  8. What bad habits do I need to stop?

  9. What motivated me today?

  10. Have I made someone smile today?

  11. When did I last push the boundaries of my comfort zone?


If all you ever do is live by what is in front of you, reacting to the life in front of you, you will never move beyond the life that is in front of you. You must be able to see outside of your current situation. You must be able to acknowledge where you are in life but know you can create so much more. – Robin Sharma

There are plenty of times where I just don’t feel like doing anything. It is impossible to stay positive around the clock. Part of being a human is also having a wave of emotions in high and low. I get it. Another conversation with myself would then occur. Why am I feeling this way? Is it fatigue from ovulating? Or is it a nice wet weather to just stay indoors and be lazy? I would acknowledge whichever category it falls to and embrace it accordingly. There is an additional work to the latter, and that is putting a time frame to it. I would allow myself the laze but only for that one day. Following which, I will give myself a thumbs up for continuing my regime the next day and for being kind with myself the day before. Don’t wait for others to validate your good efforts. Acknowledge it yourself and bask in all the glory knowing you made it through your own.

What makes me able to keep up with my plans is by feeding myself with what empowers me. The sense of gratitude knowing that someone was breathing their last breath made me feel responsible to ensure that this given chance is not wasted. I love absorbing optimistic energy from stories of struggles and turnarounds. Such as these:

  1. 25 Prophets of Islam

  2. Paul Alexander; The Man in The Iron Lung

  3. Aishah Samad, Singapore Para Athlete Shooter (lost her arms & legs from a severe bacterial infection)

  4. Kelly Sephton, Endometriosis patient & IFBB Bikini Pro Athlete

  5. Justin Williams, Cancer Survivor & IFBB Pro Athlete

  6. Andrew Jones, Heart Transplant Survivor & a Fitness Enthusiast

Listening to affirmations and repeating after it wholeheartedly helps too. Such as these:

I believe in kindness.

I believe in myself.

I believe I am destined for greatness.

I believe!

I believe there is nothing I cannot be, nothing I cannot do, nothing I cannot have.

I believe in the power of my thoughts and beliefs.

I don’t believe in luck.

I believe luck comes after you have done the work and you let the universe deliver the order.

I believe and that is why I achieve.

I believe and therefore anything is possible!

{If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more.} (Surah Ibrahim 14:7)

How often would I have this moment of admiration and appreciation? Every morning. At least, an undivided 10 minutes of reflection & affirmation on what I am grateful about and the greatness in what’s becoming. I choose to look at things with gratitude because being grateful made me realize that life is so beautiful even with all its predicaments.

Believe you deserve it, and the universe will serve it - Geneviève Colmer

Realizing that I attract what I believe to be true, has made it easier for me to stay on track. It made me feel that wallowing in self-pity, anger and sadness are too exhausting. While others may not get me or whatever I am dealing with, I decided that it is enough that I get me. This way I am less susceptible to feeling rejected & disappointed, as I am not harping much hope on others with the understanding that the capacity of them giving two hoots of such an issue is minimal simply because the awareness on Endometriosis is not fantastic either. So instead of banging my head on the wall from not being treated as should of a sickly person (upon having triggers/receiving treatments/procedures) or acknowledged by loved ones, I choose to be the first person to run into the brick wall and blazing the trail for others in creating Endometriosis awareness here in Singapore. My logic is simple, realization cannot be forced. It will make sense to others when it does. Otherwise, it is like talking to a wall and knowing this, made me able to see it as a process instead of a personal attack. While I am not in control of some circumstances, I am in control of how I view things. This eventually made advocating, or anything that I set my foot in, enjoyable.


When it comes to the legacy you have to recognize that you have enough right now to build the legacy that you really want. It is possible that you could be looking for something that you already have. What is it that you're searching for? What is it that you're waiting for? Maybe it's already in your pocket. Now is the moment to start making your impact. - Brian M. Bullock

Will I be missed? What will I leave behind? Will anyone on earth be better because I was there? Oftentimes I would ask myself these questions. I know I don’t want to just exist, but I want my existence to mean something. Having this innate desire to make this place we live in a tad better, gets me going. It also helps me to take life less seriously and detach myself from the things that simply do not align with my intention in serving the greater good. I’d say stop procrastinating and get started. There is no right time in doing something worthy. You are just depriving yourself from the possibilities. It doesn’t have to be huge. It must matter to you and the people around you. Something meaningful they could look up to. Something you want them to remember you by. Knowing my intention helps me a lot to put my life into perspective. So even through the hard times, having a purpose has kept me grounded. Passion alone drifts you while purpose drives you.


Once you start doing those simple things, and again they don’t have to be big, but once you start setting a rule, having an intention, following your rules, building towards that intention, suddenly you’re going to earn that credibility with yourself. - Tom Bilyeu



3. PATIENCE & CONSISTENCY



Mental toughness simply cannot take off without patience and consistency. Even the smallest of efforts could turn into a breakthrough. So be patient with yourself and persevere. Remember, it does not have to be big. You can start small with something sustainable. And when you’re ready, you can add on to the regime. It can be in any aspect of your life, nutrition, relationships or even a career switch. It will take a while before any progression takes place but remain steadfast and press on. That is how I have been able to stay committed with myself and I hope this sharing would help you too.

A person can have great health, in a good relationship and all access to a luxurious life but still lack grit and empathy. Why? Because some traits can only be nurtured through tough times. What drives me is my purpose and what got me in this state of mental clarity is taught by a way of pain. The situations that have crushed me are the greatest teachers that life has to offer. No one can relieve the mental anguish for me. I must walk through it myself regardless how tormenting it is. It is only by facing it alone that I can learn from it. What makes it bearable is when I decide to perceive pain as growth. When I got this definition locked in my head, it's as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

You have what it takes to change your world right now. Be responsible for your own happiness. So earn it. Seize it. Keep trying and never back down!

There’s only the credibility that you’ve either earned with yourself or not, and the hard truth is that self-worth comes from doing something worthy. It comes from the hard things. It comes from suffering. It comes from persevering. - Tom Bilyeu


Namira Mohamad Marsudi

Founder

E for Endometriosis