About a month ago, I was hospitalized after passing out suddenly. It was a scary experience to say the least, and it put a lot of things further into perspective. See, this wasn’t the first time I had passed out over the last few years, but it was the first time I was told that if I were to pass out again, there’s a chance it could be fatal. Well, talk about a wake up call!

The doctors as well as those close to me said that it was probably stress-induced, considering the overwhelmingly excessive stress I’ve had on my mind for the last little bit. Usually, I can handle a pretty high degree of stress and workloads, but that’s because it’s self-imposed, so I moderate how much I take in. This time, however, the sources of the stress were external and so, I didn’t know how to control them or deal with them in a safe and effective way. Thus, I ended up overloading and passed out.

When I was at the clinic having a Holter monitor (heart-rate monitor) attached to my chest, the nurse mentioned the concept of “Fight or Flight” when describing what she speculated could have been reflected in my passing out. Although this wasn’t the case, it was something that caught my attention and had me thinking for a while. It made me ponder the idea of learning to control our minds to a strong enough degree that we would be able to stop ourselves from reacting by “taking flight” more often than expected.

From what I understand, the fight or flight concept is simply a way of relaying how we react to certain things. Every person has something that makes his or her body shut down completely at the moment they interact with it in any way. When something challenges a person but doesn’t make their body involuntarily react through things like vomiting or fainting, it’s a reflection of a person’s fight. Whereas, if someone reacts negatively and has their body shut down in one way or the other, it’s a reflection of flight.

Now, being the person I am, I began to think about how I could learn to adapt to my circumstances and stress points, so that I could avoid having another black-out episode. Since the “episode” was stress-induced, I figured that the first step would be to identify my stress points. Once I did that, I began working on learning to detach my emotions from those stress points. I thought it would be harder to do, but it came quite easily once I realized that consequences of not reducing my stress (i.e. doctors said it could be fatal, remember?). Since then, the stress points haven’t gone away, but I’ve definitely found more peace and ease in dealing with things. That doesn’t mean that I have complete control of it, though. I realized this when I was humbled by the fact that despite all of my efforts, I was still feeling pain and facing major struggles when trying to avoid stress.

Lessons Learned

There are so many things in our lives that we fight every day, trying to make a living, trying to find happiness, trying to maintain relationships, and more. But, we should never let those things bring us down, because as soon as they do, they control us and we no longer control them. At that point, the best thing to do is to walk away from what you’re fighting, regardless of how far into the fight you are or of who’s watching. Take care of yourself first, because in order for you to continue your fight, you have to make sure you’re in control and are completely aware of your circumstances. For most of my life, I thought life was about putting others first and only considering myself after everyone else is content, but eventually, it bit me in the butt. I found that I was unappreciated and would be used because people would take my kindness as naivety. Yes, we should help others and make a point to do as much good during our lifetimes as possible, but that should only be done after you’ve made sure that you’re okay. And an even better approach would be make it such that helping people is a part of what helps you happy. You are the only person who you have control of appreciating you, so don’t take yourself for granted and take care of yourself! This life is a gift from God, and He’s always watching over us. You wouldn’t ignore a gift your friend gives you while he or she is watching, so how could you ignore God’s gift to you? Take it with a smile and take care of your life. You’re worth every moment of it, even more so on those days you think you’re not.

And that brings me to flight. We have to keep in mind that we are human and that we won’t always have complete control of our lives. We are fragile creatures, regardless of how much we may try to strengthen and protect ourselves. Don’t let that anger or frustrate you, though. Instead, let it humble you – let it remind you that you always have space for improvement and that you will never be completely impenetrable in whatever shield you put up around yourself, because to be vulnerable is human and to be human is to be vulnerable.