When You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going

I remember the first time that I heard that phrase. I was watching an episode of NCIS, and the character Donald Mallard told Jimmy Palmer – Ducky: Forgive me, Mr. Palmer, but I can’t resist the urge to give you one of my all-time favorite pieces of advice: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” It was during season 14 with an episode entitled “Keep Going.” If you’ve never seen that episode, I highly recommend it, especially if you are dealing with a lot of angst and turmoil in your life. Without giving away too many spoilers, that episode was the start of severe changes for Mr. Palmer. And it was because of that episode that I found myself gathering up the strength to face my demons.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve dealt with the loss of several loved ones, a roller-coaster of emotions in my personal life, career challenges, personal and professional growth, and questioned where I want to end up in life. I’ve discovered that life is what we bring to it and not what we have. Our faith will go through upheavals, joys, triumphs, and sorrows. Our relationships will constantly evolve or diminish, and our perceptions will change over time on various issues.

Some days will feel impossible to move forward. I remember a Christmas Cartoon that had the song “Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door.” I think it was from Frosty the Snowman. Anyway, the song makes a good point. We don’t go forward if we freeze and stop moving. Sometimes it’s a matter of keeping our bodies in motion and not processing what’s happening until we are on the other side of problems.

These last couple of years have been some of the most challenging times for many of us. We are dealing with a pandemic that changed our lives forever. We blame those who are unvaccinated and treat them as if they were lepers. It doesn’t matter what we may think. Our actions dictate so many other things. Recently, I lost three loved ones due to COVID and one to cancer. It feels like we can’t get a break from all the deaths that surround us. Another loved one had a heart attack recently and couldn’t get treated for hours. She’s lucky she’s alive.

These incidents remind me of the sacrifices many make to support their families. I received my bills in the mail this week, and every single place has increased what I owe. My job hasn’t improved my pay, and by working three jobs, it’s been frustrating. Everyone has their hand out for more money, and companies like the one I work for don’t want to pay more. They come up with excuses time after time. Yet, companies like Domino’s are offering quite a bit more than I make and an additional $5000 bonus. No wonder so many people like me are floundering. Many of us worked during the pandemic and were tired. We aren’t getting a break with anything. Many of us are angry when unemployment can pay more than what we get while working. The attitudes have been ones of anger and frustration among many. Getting a job isn’t easy when everything has gone to online applications. If you don’t use the right keywords, then you are obliterated from consideration. I also hear that if you aren’t vaccinated, companies refuse to give you opportunities within their companies. It’s little to no wonder why people are discouraged, angry, and frustrated with their jobs and situations.

It isn’t easy to have relationships too. The pandemic created mayhem for many couples. I saw people I never thought would split up, file for divorce, or leave their significant others. It was like a domino effect. Friendships failed the ultimate test, and election results created more division than anyone could fathom. Those relationships may never recover. Families squabbled over opinions and beliefs. Some families were torn apart by deportation, while others couldn’t find a balance. Our emotions have created firestorms that continue to blaze with a slew of emotions.

The worst part is that while so many of us are aware of what is happening, we don’t know how to fix things. We say we want peace and unity, yet we remain divided. We say we want bullying to cease, yet we are among the first to instigate it with those we disagree with because of people’s constant needs to be correct. The bottom line is that people need to decide for themselves what the right answers are for them. None of us want to feel like we face threats daily. We don’t want to live a life of stress, and yet everything around us is stressful. At some point, we have to keep pushing through all the clutter and keep going. People depend on us for various needs in their lives, and expectations are high. Employers don’t care about what you are dealing with; they only want results. I agree with them on many levels, but sometimes what a person deals with personally affects them professionally. Some of the strongest people I’ve known are the ones who spoke about their struggles with others. It brought awareness that mental health is something we should all protect. We all have our breaking points. The key to surviving dangerous territory is awareness.

There are many different tactics available online to help you navigate life’s toughest challenges. But if you are feeling overwhelmed, please know you aren’t alone. Don’t be afraid to talk about things that are weighing you down. Recognize the problems, and seek professional help. I’ve said so many times in my life that I didn’t need a shrink. The truth was that I needed help that others couldn’t provide. My depression got so intense that everything around me felt dark and weighted. I had to learn to process what was going on around me. There are times in our lives that we have to keep going until we get to the other side of the issues. But, once we get on the other side, we need time to let our bodies process the occurrences.

Life is too short of asking yourself, “what if.” Don’t let fear keep you from trying new things, but more importantly, don’t stop when things get complicated. Keep going. Because if you quit, you will forever wonder what would have happened if you kept up the pace and finished what you started. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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