When I was 19 years old I was suddenly diagnosed with an incurable, incapacitating autoimmune disorder. As a result of the trauma of battling this new disorder and losing complete control over my body, I fell into a deep depression, began experiencing panic attacks, and developed severe anorexia.
Within just a few months, I was down to 112 pounds of pure skin and bone. I was starving myself, refusing to take my medications, and denying that there was a problem.
By the age of 20 I felt completely hopeless and helpless. Nothing seemed to be working and I was not getting better. Romantic relationships were out of the question. While everyone around me was having the time of their lives, I was cowering in my dormitory planning a suicide.
After hitting this rock bottom, I had no choice but to seek professional help. Though I hadn't created these issues, it became clear to me that I was the only person who was capable of fixing them. With the support of my family, I began taking accountability, making serious lifestyle changes, and slowly getting healthier.
I made new friends, became a Personal Trainer, and started helping others. I even got a girlfriend.
I thought I was doing great. But as my girlfriend and I got deeper into our relationship, I quickly learned that I had some real emotional issues in the love department: codependency, unhealthy attachment, and fear of abandonment. And although I was loved, at my core I still felt unlovable.
So, back to counseling I went.
I once again had to humble myself and change my behavior. I did the work and began to see real progress. I developed authentic confidence and learned what healthy relationships consist of; I learned how to be happy and at peace; I learned how to have the things I want and want the things I have.
Fast forward after many years of working on myself, I’ve transformed my life inside and out. I am the strongest, happiest, and healthiest I have ever been, and I am truly living my life's purpose. I believe the final stage of healing is using what you went through in order to help others; so every day, I harness the pain I endured and the insight I gained in order to teach others how to improve their lives.
I believe that self-respect, purpose, healthy relationships, and sound mental health are teachable skills -- we just need the right guidance and practical tools, guidance and tools that evaded me for so long. I finally have an extraordinary life because I was willing to change my thoughts, works, and actions for the better. Now it is your turn!