After 6-months into my new job at an IT helpdesk, I wasn’t feeling very well. I was low in energy, felt very sensitive and found it difficult to look people in the eyes. It was very different from the normally happy, driven, outgoing Laila. I started to cry without understanding why and my then-boyfriend became angry at my outbursts. I started to take days off sick and I could hear my colleagues talk about me as ‘sick-note’ behind my back and me not pulling my weight. It hurt but I just couldn’t get myself motivated. I found myself feeling very heavy and lethargic. Getting out of bed took such effort. And I was only 21 years old.

I wasn’t pregnant and the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me, but they could see that I wasn’t well and signed me off with ‘debilitation’. It wasn’t received well at work but there was nothing they could do. It would last 2 months before I went back to work. 

In those two months, I had brain fog. I didn’t eat, was severely emotional and  had such low self-esteem. All I wanted to do was hide under the duvet and not face the world. This was the lowest I had ever felt and everything felt like an uphill struggle.

Until one day, I did wake up and decided enough was enough. I couldn’t handle more teary days. This wasn’t me. I decided to start eating and almost overnight become the me that I remembered. As soon as I made that decision in my head, it was like a light switch had been flicked. And I felt light again. The energy came back. My confidence had returned.

The hardest part was going back to work. I could feel the mistrust amongst my colleagues. I couldn’t blame them for their silent treatment of me. It was going to be difficult to me to change my reputation. I just kept a low profile and did my job. 

Slowly, slowly, the trust started to come back. There were no more random sick days. I did good work consistently. They asked me to take in more responsibility and after 3-4 months I was told by one of the bosses that I was “f***ing flying”. A few months after that, a new position opened up and I got promoted. It was like I had reinvented myself.

After I went back to work, the doctors finally diagnosed what was wrong. I had an underactive thyroid which explained some of the symptoms. It affects your metabolism, hence the lethargy, and now they could prescribe me the medication that would make it all better. But…I had made myself better despite not having the diagnosis. 

What I had learnt was about myself; that I wasn’t defined by other people’s opinions and that I was stronger than I thought. Because I had a picture of who I was, and it wasn’t the woman who did not want to get out of bed. And I knew I was a person with good work ethics, so I could withstand the silent treatment that went on at work for awhile. My strength came from the belief I had about myself and when reality clashed with that, I made the necessary changes for my turnaround.

Do you have a similar story, that you can remind yourself of how strong you actually are and can be? Please feel free, to share on to people you think it will help.

P.S. I wish I’d know about gratitude back then . Click on the below button to access it as a gift for reading this.