01/17/2017 11:42 EST | Updated 01/17/2017 11:43 EST

Why I Look At This Picture Of Myself Whenever I Feel Down


My sister Yasmin took this picture on Jan 7, 2013. It was after my six-hour long emergency brain surgery. No one knew if I would wake up, but she took this picture.

I didn't find out about this picture until 10 months later. Here's the backstory and why she took this picture:

After months of living in the hospital and doing more weeks of therapy that I can count, I did recover from having a stroke and brain surgery. I was fortunate enough to be able to take some time to travel, enjoy life, compete in running and biking events so I could prove to myself I was the same person I was before my stroke. (I am very lucky to have an incredible support system and family)

After that, I wanted to get back into my career meaning throwing myself back into the job market full force. I reached out to countless individuals to understand more about their companies and jobs, got referrals for job openings and went on interview after interview.

After a few weeks, I had finished an interview and came home feeling dejected and frustrated. It was one of those evenings where I just felt like everything sucked and I was quite snappy with my family.

I was on the couch watching TV and ignoring everyone but out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mom and sister glancing at each other.

As I said, I had a rather short fuse that evening. I looked at my sister and harshly yelled....WHAT?! Do you both have something to say?! (I am not at all proud of my rash tone)

My sister quietly said, "D, can I show you something?" She grabbed her phone and showed me this picture. A millisecond later, tears were streaming down my face and I couldn't speak. There was a huge ball in my throat.

That picture allowed me to step out of my little dejected bubble and take a step back.

I averted my eyes but couldn't stop trying to get a glimpse of this image. THAT was me??? That horrible image That couldn't be right.

I had no idea of what I looked like because there were no mirrors in my hospital room. That picture could not be me?!

A few minutes later, she told me: "I took this picture so that you can always remind yourself how far you have come."

It worked!! It gave me perspective.

That picture allowed me to step out of my little dejected bubble and take a step back. After seeing that picture, I suddenly felt accomplished and a very proud feeling came over me. I brushed away my sulky feelings and reminded myself that I am more than capable of getting a job and there's no point in getting so down on myself (which is SO easy to do and something I'm guilty of!)

It's been four years since that picture was taken and it still has the power to jolt me back to reality. I still cringe when I see that picture and more often than not, tears roll down my face.

But, it does exactly what my sister had intended it to do. It reminds me of how far I've come and it makes me believe in myself.....NO MATTER WHAT!

It's so easy to get caught up in negative thoughts, self-doubt and spiral downwards when things don't go according to plan.

I've got my picture to look at every time I'm feeling down and need perspective. Do you have your picture?

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