Photo taken by Austin Avard.

Life changed for me drastically in 2002 when I was diagnosed as disabled by two different illnesses. At first, and for many years following, I let that decision define who I was. I was no longer me, I was a patient. After so long on this thought pattern, I finally, in a sense, woke up and decided to change a lot of aspects of my life. A lot of it had to do with sheer determination and absolute dedication to a more positive attitude. I want to let people know they are not alone, and to show others where I have been and how I managed to make it out on the other side when I thought I could not do it.

Image by Kim Ingram-Deister

I am at this point in my life now where I am happy and content. I know my life is mine to make the most of, have learned that the way I handled things in the past was not the right way. I was always trying to please others, and look after them, and I cared a lot about what others said, thought and felt. The ingredient missing all of this time? A belief in me. I came to the conclusion that, in order to be successful, in order to get out of the depression, and in order to make the most out of my own life, I had to stop seeking the acceptance from the outside and start looking inward.

Clearing out the negative in my life began from shifting my focus to within and that is when true healing and honest changes began. The Universe has its own way of pointing out the right way when the wrong way was chosen for so long. I am finally living as me again, pure and authentically me. I am still disabled, yes, but now I have the most amazing outlook and can see a bright and shiny future ahead of me.

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