By Women Warriors Ambassador + Guest Blogger Dr. Lindsay Dellavalle
I Lindsay Dellavalle feel honored to be a Women Warrior Ambassador. I hope to use this platform to inspire women to realize that they have it in themselves to overcome adversity. Working as a Family Physician, I get the opportunity to build relationships with many people. I hear about people’s struggles and victories on a daily basis. Through people’s stories, you realize that no one in life is without adversity; however it is how you come through this that matters in the end. I too, unfortunately have faced some devastating things in life. I have had to navigate the struggles that come with a special needs child who suffers from seizures, cognitive impairments, and developmental delays. I also have witnessed my husband suffer from mental illness and PTSD after his deployment to Iraq which ultimately lead to his suicide. Believe me when I say that these things have caused me heartbreak and sleepless nights, but at the end of the day I still push forward to be the best mom and physician that I can be. The Army taught me a lot about Resilience, maybe better called “mental toughness” and I’d like to share some of my thoughts as to what that entails.
- Tomorrow is another day: Life does go on. Even when it seems that your world is falling apart. The sun rises tomorrow and you never know what beautiful gift will be bestowed upon you. You have no other option but to keep pushing and keep going. In my journey I realize my son’s disabilities have made me cherish life so much more. Although it can be a challenge to watch your child struggle, his ability to brighten a room is truly a gift.
- Be mindful but also get out of your own head: It is important to be in the moment. Allow yourself to feel the emotions of stress, pain, happiness. Realize that all these feelings are part of life and it is Ok to feel them even when they make you uncomfortable. There were many times after my husband’s passing that I wanted to not feel the pain, but I knew I needed to. But also it is important to not allow your emotions to get the best of you, be able to put them aside for a while. To allow yourself to get distracted. My best distraction was running. A chance to clear my head and not think or feel. Needless to say I ran a lot that first year and completed my first half marathon shortly thereafter.
- Be Flexible: learn that you can’t control everything in life. Therefore focus on what you can control, which I believe most of the time, is your attitude about something. I have gotten to know two extraordinary families through this journey that have suffered the biggest tragedies you can imagine and turned them into something positive. The first family that has helped me tremendously, their son was KIA and now they have made a Charitable Foundation in his name to help other veterans in need, especially those suffering from PTSD. The second family, I have gotten the honor to know, lost a son to suicide and another son was KIA. They do public speaking engagements to bring awareness and help service members and veterans suffering from PTSD.
- Surround yourself with Supportive People: realize that you can’t do everything on your own. Build a network of like-minded positive people who empower you to be mentally and physically healthy. I am very blessed. I didn’t have to look too far. I am surrounded by family and friends that possess these qualities. My sisters, Ashley Jung and Paige Walker, the owners of Stella Valle, are some of the most hardworking, dedicated people I know. They truly embody what it is to be a Women Warrior!
Aka Dr. Dellavalle