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How I Found My Inner Strength After My Life Unexpectedly Changed

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A year ago, my life was very different than from what it has become, and it’s drastically different from two years ago. I never would have imagined I’d be where I am right now in my life. I foresaw my life being very different in 2016 than what it presently is. And yet I’m full of gratitude and amazement as I struggle to believe my present life is reality.

To fill you in, a lot has transpired in the last 24 months:

• I decided not to have any children because of my health and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

• My husband was diagnosed and hospitalized with diabetes.

• My marriage began to fall apart.

• I entered a bout of extremely severe depression.

• I was hospitalized for the first time in seven years.

• I developed increased chronic pain and started having chronic nausea.

• I went on a dream family vacation to Alaska (highly recommended by the way).

• One of my very beloved great uncles died at 99 years old.

• Estrangement from some very dear friends and family members.

• Marital separation.

• Moved back home with my parents.

• Divorced.

• Bought a house.

• Became independent once again.

Not everything that has happened in the last two years has been a hardship. In spite of very difficult, trying situations throughout the last two years, every situation has held life lessons for me and has helped me grow as an individual.

I psychologically survived situations I never imagined I would face and wasn’t sure I would survive at the time of their occurrence. And yet, with each hurdle, I became stronger and fiercer. I never saw myself as a survivor or as a brave person before in spite of surviving seven surgeriesnear-death experiences and the cancer that was developing in my body. I’ve lived through PTSD, suicidal ideation and severe depression. I’ve survived the physical and emotional loss of many. I survived. I learned I am strong, and after facing physical and psychological challenges, I can survive anything.

It’s true we don’t realize how strong we are until we have no other choice. Feeling on the verge of a mental breakdown for months on end last year, my mind somehow held onto the smallest amounts of hope and strength to keep me alive to fight another day.

And now, I’m stronger than ever before. Now, I’m prepared to fight whatever future fights may be in store for me. I know I’ve survived the worst psychological challenges I’ve ever encountered, and it’s only up from here. Even my bad days aren’t my worst days because those are behind me.

I’ve harnessed my inner strength that for far too long I didn’t know existed. It’s easy to ignore our inner strength. We tend to minimize our feats of mental strength. We become accustomed to survival mode without acknowledgement of what it actually takes to survive. We get caught up in surviving day to day without relishing in the fact that we are surviving.

Let us stop cheating ourselves. Let us honor our strength and harness it. When we bear witness to our strength, we honor ourselves, our survival and our life.

Follow this journey on Life’s a Polyp.

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: October 26, 2016
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