Throughout my life, I have not trusted the person who has had authority over me. Whether this person works for the government or in the medical field, I have noticed that they have many personality traits in common. They believe that, with their current job position, they are somehow better than you, they believe that their "spoken word" is the gospel, and they appear to believe that they are never wrong. If I have to deal with this person in authority, and they make a statement to me that I know in my heart is not true, I must take their challenge as I did in the following three circumstances:
Challenge #1: I was in a domestic violent marriage for fifteen years. As the violence escalated, I discovered that when I drank, I could stand up to him and not be intimidated by him. The alcohol also gave me the courage to finally leave him (which I am not advising as a solution to anyone). Instead of being a slave to my ex, I now became a slave to the alcohol. I was on a self-destruct path so I would not have to deal with all of the pain and humiliation that I suffered while I was married. Being the good drunk that I was, I received 2 DUI's in sixty days. I checked myself into an alcohol rehab center. The day came that I was being released after spending 30 days there (well, okay 29 days, if you count the one night that I ran away and got drunk). All of the "powers that be" including my counselor, my nurse, a couple of men that I didn't know, the very top dog psychiatrist, and myself were sitting at this long table discussing my situation. Dr. Top Dog got my attention by looking me square in the eye and asked me what my plans were. I told him that I was going to go home, go back to work, and take care of my four children. He knew that I worked at a CPA firm, and I was a single mom because I left the kid's sociopath father. My children were very young, ages 4, 5, 7, and 9, and they were the center of my universe. Dr. Top Dog had the audacity to tell me point blank that I couldn't do it! I wanted to tell him to take a flying leap. He did not even know me, had probably read my chart once, never counselled me but by his "high wisdom and experience" and with all of the letters after his name, he was "qualified" to announce to me that I would not be able to work and care for my children. I asked him "Why not?" to which he gave me some full of baloney reply. I wasn't going to argue with him because I knew that I could do it all, and I would restrict my drinking to the weekends only. The happy ending to this chapter in my life is that I did get another DUI, and I was facing some serious prison time and the possibility of losing my kids for good. The State of Colorado sobered me up, and I went to AA meetings constantly. I told myself the party was over, and I have not had a drink since 1992. I beat this challenge and was now equipped to be a better mother and accountant.
Challenge #2: My children and I moved to a different state. With all of my qualifications, the only job I could get was making $7.00 per hour. I had never before applied for any type of assistance, but I found myself in the Social Services office applying for food stamps. After completing all of the paperwork necessary, I handed in my application to the woman in charge. She took my application, and politely informed me that I would not make it in this town. (This was a ski resort tourist town in Colorado where many wealthy families lived.) She went on in her tirade informing me that she saw many women come and go because they wanted to live here but could never make enough money to stay. With that encouraging news, I stomped out of her office and said to myself "Well, you just watch me!" I do thrive on challenges. While I was working at my $7.00 per hour job, I was given a free computer and printer. At this time, there was no social media or websites. I sent out 100 typed letters to many businesses in town, and I hand-addressed every single envelope knowing that there was a greater likelihood that they would get opened. Within a couple of weeks, I had some phone calls coming in from business owners who needed my accounting services. I worked independently out of "my office" as a subcontractor. I would bring their work home, set up my computer on the dining room table, work all day, put away my office at night so I could cook dinner and do homework with my kids. I soon was able to quit my low paying job. My goal was to have the largest accounting firm in town excluding the two CPA firms. From my meager beginnings with my office on the dining room table, I eventually had so many clients that I had to hire 5 full time staff accountants and move into a real office and pay rent. I shall never forget the day when I once again walked back into that Social Services office and handed them BACK my food stamps for the month because I told them I no longer qualified. I put the entire office in a tizzy because they had never had that happen, and they did not even have a proper government form to fill out! I walked out laughing because that was not my issue. I had made my point that single moms in this town can thrive if they choose to work hard at a goal. I beat that challenge!
Challenge #3: This was my most recent and by far, the biggest challenge that I have ever had to face. In 2012, some frightening things started to happen to my body and mind. I had never heard of or experienced these strange symptoms. I made an appointment with a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with major depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I was floored. My first response was "But I have never been to Afghanistan". I didn't know that the lifetime of trauma that I had endured and conveniently stuffed inside my body would eventually surface and demand to be dealt with. Oh, brother, I was so scared to open up all of these traumas that I had put in hidden compartments with a tight lid on them inside my body, never to be dealt with again (or so I thought). The psychiatrist put me on a myriad of meds and recommended that I see a therapist that specialized in PTSD. The choice was not easy, but I knew I had to literally force myself to get therapy if I wanted to be a productive, thriving member of society again. I met with my psychiatrist again after undergoing one year of therapy. I asked her if I could decrease any of the meds that she had put me on. OH-OH, here comes the Challenge. She immediately replied "Penny, you have a very serious mental illness from which you will never recover". Oh my gosh! There it was in black and white. I knew that I had to prove her wrong because I absolutely refused to believe her prognosis. Sure, I might be sick now, but you "person in authority" don't ever tell me that I can't do something. So two and one-half years ago I was too afraid to go to a friend's house for dinner. Today I can say that PTSD was the best thing that ever happened to me because I am a healed, whole person again. As far as afraid of meeting new people, I exceeded my own expectations. I had the privilege of meeting Rob Kall in New York City on April 8, 2016 at an event called the "National Publicity Summit". I met with and pitched my story to people from the national radio, magazines, and TV stations and had a very good response from many of them. I proudly say that I beat that challenge!
Are you facing a challenge in your life right now? You can choose to look at it as a gift for personal growth or an obstacle. It is your choice.