How we see ourselves is the way we believe deep inside and determines whether we will succeed or fail in life. This is a fundamental fact when it comes to overcoming any obstacle in life, and is especially true when recovering from any type of mental challenge.

I can remember when I first got into therapy my opinion of myself was very low and I felt absolutely no hope. I was prepared to end my life because I didn’t think I had a future. The emotional turmoil and pain I was in during those first years of therapy were almost as bad as the horrible abuse I had endured as a child.

My life took a turn for the worse and I was admitted to an inpatient psychiatric facility and there lived life from the point-of-view of a person who was suffering and full of desperation. I truly thought that I would never leave that place. My brother just recently told me he thought I was going to die within a year or two in the facility because I had given up trying to get better. I was there for over seven years.

I was very fortunate. One day I was assigned a counselor who had experience with my diagnosis, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and my life spark was relit. My self-esteem, which had been in the toilet, began to improve and within a year I was moving into a group home. After the group home I moved in with my brother and began to attend college. I won’t lie to you, I had a very hard time keeping on task with school, but I have to give myself some leeway because during that time my nephew died, and I had two breast cancer surgeries.

You know what all these struggles have done for me? They have made me into a force to be reckoned with. My self-esteem, while it takes occasional hits, is strong and high. I have become, through my life’s struggles, an extraordinarily strong and confident woman. Oh yeah, I can be hurt but destroyed? No. My self-image has improved 100% from the fifteen-year old abused and deserted girl I was once. I have changed as well enormously from who I was 27 years ago, before I began walking down the road less traveled. Has it been easy? No. At times, it has been pure hell, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for the power I have gained by going through it all.

If you feel you are worthless, that you are ugly, or that you are stupid and weak because you live with some type of mental challenge you are wrong, you are very wrong. People like us are a resource that is being missed. We are the movers and shakers who can potentially change the world for the better. Am I being overly optimistic? No. All of the people I know who are in recovery are people who think outside the box and are not afraid of a challenge.

No matter where you are in healing journey today, I hope you will take heart in my words and begin to dream big. What did you always want to do growing up? What do you want to do with your life now? Perhaps your dream is to be the best daddy or mommy there ever was, that’s a noble goal and should not be taken lightly. You are the best candidates for being just that because you know what it is like not to have good parents.

Chin up! You are worthwhile and valuable to this world no matter what those old tapes in the back of your head are telling you. I believe in you.

“Even when we haven’t got a great grasp of our self-worth, which is not good news at all, we have to admit that everything is magically changed when we believe in ourselves. We become more creative and we become like infants. This is where growth begins.” – Author Unknown

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