By Maddie Morris
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Life is hard for everyone sometimes. Trust me, I know. I’m thirteen now, but when I was nine years old, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Over the next few years, I ended up having two brain surgeries. Those were really hard times in my life. To say I was worried would be a huge understatement. I felt scared and uncertain. But I think I came out of those experiences better than when I went in; and I wanted to share a few ways that I dealt with the stress. Maybe you could use them too.
1. Be Positive
When your life is hard, one of the few things that you can do is try your best to be happy. Cheesy, I know, but I have found that when you try your best to be happy, you forget some of the hardships that are surrounding you. Being positive and hopeful helped me to keep moving forward day by day. I remember thinking before my surgeries that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t make it, but I believed somewhere in my heart that everything would be okay. I tried to focus on that.
2. Listen to Music
Music really calms me down, especially when I’m scared, stressed, or worried. I like listening to Broadway musicals and hymns when I’m stressed, but any kind of music that speaks to your heart would work.
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3. Smile and Laugh
Laughter can carry your struggles further away. It takes your mind someplace else and lifts the spirits. Can’t get yourself to laugh? You can just smile then. There are so many things that can help. Fake mustaches make me laugh. They are just silly and brighten my day. You should seriously try one on sometime. When I was in the hospital, my friends and family sent me pictures of themselves wearing fake mustaches to make me smile. It totally worked. Which brings me to my next thought.
4. Lean on Friends and Family
People who truly care about you will try their very best to help you. Listen to them and their advice. Let them lift and carry you forward. Don’t fight it. It will make your hardship a lot easier. I am so grateful for my friends who listened to me, hung out with me, and distracted me before and after my surgeries. For those who have a loved one going through a hard time just know that setting aside some time to visit can really strengthen them.
Social media can help too. Lots of people talk about how social media can be a bad thing, but during my surgery it was great. People used social media to send me pictures of themselves wearing mustaches to make me laugh.
Friends and family who were far away could join in cheering me on. Then, because good things spread fast on social media, people I didn’t even know started wishing me a fast recovery with pictures of themselves, their cats, their babies and stuffed animals in mustaches. I loved it. During a time when I was really struggling, knowing that there were so many people comforting and encouraging me made me smile when my circumstances tried to depress me and make me frown.
So there you have it. When going through hard times, I suggest you be positive, listen to music, smile and laugh, and spend time with friends and family. I hope that these can help you because they definitely have helped me.
Maddie was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013. Her parents just finished writing a children’s novel based on her story, “Mustaches for Maddie,” which is coming out this October. For more information, vwww.mustachesformaddie.com.