In life we go through many trials and tribulations. It’s during these rough times that we find ourselves and our strength. Life’s challenges help mold us into better and stronger people. These trying times in our life change us forever. We can never be the same again. I’d like to believe we are all changed for the better. I know I am.
I spent most of my life struggling with mental illness. I fought it most of my childhood and throughout my adulthood. I’ll never be cured of it, but I climbed the walls of my dark hole to reach recovery. I faced the dark demons within me and pushed them down. This battle took my life and turned it around. It took me from an empty shell and filled me up. It brought forth a missing part of the person I am and showed me how determined, strong, and resilient I am.
When I crawled out of my dark hole, I came out as a new and rejuvenated person. I found the real me curled up like a scared child, and I worked hard to bring that frightened child out into the light. I learned to love again, to smile again, to laugh again, and to live again. I became an advocate for mental illness, I found I was capable of fighting for what means the most to me, and I learned that I have a lot to offer to people and to the world.
When I was sick I buried myself in self-hate, anguish and sadness. I thought I was worthless and useless. Finding a new perspective helped me move forward in my life. I learned to see myself for the person I am and not my illness, and I learned to love myself. Learning to love myself helped me build stronger and healthier relationships. I found my husband and many good friends. My writing grew and I started this blog.
Then I heard those words over the phone, “You have breast cancer,” and once again my life was turned upside down and inside out. I fell into depression and feared the worse. I felt frozen in place while people were going on around me. Next, they told me I had the BRCA gene and I had to make some very important decisions: decisions no one should have to make, but there was no way around them. I had to choose to lose the very features that distinguished me as a woman. I thought my life was over, but it had only just begun.
I had to undergo two surgeries within three months. I lost some important parts of my womanhood, but I gained a new love for myself and a new pride. I’m proud to be a survivor, I’m proud of the scars on my chest that tell the story of the battle I won, and I’m proud of how strong I was while I faced this illness and the surgeries. If I had gotten breast cancer years ago, I would have been a total wreck. I fought some depression while going through this, but it didn’t drag me down.
I learned to love myself as a new woman. A woman without breasts, ovaries, a uterus, and cervix, but a beautiful woman who fought an awful battle and a strong woman who doesn’t allow anything to tear her down. My body has changed and first it was really hard to accept, but I found acceptance. I love my body and who I am. I am not afraid that others will look at me differently and I’m not ashamed to tell others about the fight I overcame and won. I grew as a person inside and out because of my struggle with breast cancer.
Both of these trials in my life changed me forever and built me up to the person I am. It is unfair I had to face them, but they taught me lessons I may have never learned otherwise. I’m a stronger and better person because of them. I’m proud to say I’m a brave, loving, beautiful and inspiring woman. I have plenty to write about and my writing about my experience helps and inspires others. I suffered to help others.
If you are going through an illness or other trials in your life, don’t view them as the end of your life, but as a way to grow. Illnesses and hardships change you forever, but don’t let them change you for the worse. Let them mold you and lift you up. Grow from your experiences and rise above them.
I’m a proud survivor of mental illness and cancer. I am standing in the beaming rays of a new beginning. I’m proud of whom I am and the road I traveled to get here. I am a beautiful woman, I am a fighter, and I am an inspiration. I’m celebrating my triumphs in the light of a new life.