When I Quit Fighting, I Started Winning

Written by  in category 
December 4, 2016
mountain, fragile, strength

Sometimes, surrendering leads to victory. I always believed that telling someone “no,” prioritizing self care, and feeling anxious were signs of weakness. These things made me selfish, so I fought them constantly. When I felt tired or overburdened, I told myself: “Get it together. You’re tougher than this.” I refused to surrender, even to myself.

I am tough, but not in the way I always thought I was. To confront fear is real strength. I was afraid of my anxiety. I was afraid to take care of myself. What this wrought on me was physical illness. By fighting my fears, I lost. Everything I dreaded had occurred: friends, family, and colleagues saw me at my most vulnerable. They saw that I do have a breaking point. 

They didn’t mock me, but instead, embraced me. They lifted me up, stood behind me, and propped me up when I couldn’t do it myself. They held me when I needed to be held. There were some who didn’t understand and expected me to continue on in the same way that had made me sick. Occasionally, I gave in to old habits, and I fought. Every time I fought, I found myself back on the floor. I now see who picked me up, told me it was okay, and to keep going. I also saw who pushed me down, saying I was weak.

Now when I feel that wave of dread coming, I let it wash over me. On really good days, I run towards it, because I know I’ll still be standing after it hits. When I surrender, I win.

If they knew the truth
They’d say I am fragile,
Worthy of suspicion

— BUT —

I don’t want to hide
That part of me anymore
Fear, uncertainty


It’s part of who I am
More reflective of my strength
Than my weakness

— SO —

When you do learn the truth
About me, my fear, 
And my struggle with it


Don’t call me fragile
You have no idea 
What it takes to get out of bed


I’m not fragile
I won’t break when I bend
After I fall I will get up

Claire Kopko

Claire Kopko

Claire Kopko lives in Ohio with her husband, Nick. She is a sports physical therapist at a large children's hospital, spending time in both the orthopedic and chronic pain departments. She enjoys powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, hiking, traveling, yoga, and reading. Claire's struggle with anxiety and depression began long ago, but only in the past two years has she really learned to embrace it as a part of herself. In fact, it has helped her learn more about herself and how to better reach people in her personal and professional life.

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