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How My Disability Has Given Me the Opportunity to Face My Fears and Help Others

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Isn’t it funny how life can turn out? And isn’t it amazing how a challenge can turn into an amazing gift?

As I approach my seventh anniversary of my correct diagnosis, I can’t help but think about how much I have changed these past few years. I have forced myself to try so many new things that seemed downright scary to me. Many of these fears have forced me to go out of my comfort zone.

When I realized my new medication of L-Dopa was working, I was more scared than excited. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of what I was actually physically capable of doing independently. Walking to the mailbox that first time had my head spinning with doubt, yet I had to give it my best shot. I couldn’t fail myself. And the only way I would see it as failure was to not try. If I didn’t make it, I could try again later. All I knew was I had to keep trying. But not all of my new adventures were trying to tackle physical obstacles.

About three years after receiving my Dopa responsive dystonia (DRD) diagnosis, I was asked to speak to a group of medical students. Because, I was never one to say “no” and loved trying new things in my new life, I eagerly said, “Yes!” Here’s the thing: I’ve always had a fear of public speaking! I was the girl in high school who would be physically ill with the thought of standing in front of the class talking to my peers.  Here’s the thing: I loved it!

For the first time since receiving my DRD diagnosis, I realized I could share my medical journey and help others in the process. Initially, I saw it as a way to education medical professionals about DRD since few doctors have ever heard about it. But, I quickly realized it was much more than that! I was able to give others hope when they had given up. I was able to encourage others to appreciate the little things in life when they were feeling overwhelmed with all the stresses. And I was also able to motivate others to face their fears and work hard to achieve their lifelong dreams and goals.

I can’t help but thank God for giving me the strength to really use my struggles to help others. I am grateful I continue to face my fears because it helps me to see how strong of a person I really am. I may not be perfect and doubt myself at times, but I look to the heavens and believe with God by my side anything is possible.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle, via Unsplash

Originally published: May 17, 2017
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