“You’ve renamed yourself as the hero of your story instead of the victim,” she said.
I sat in my counselors office a couple of weeks ago and she immediately could sense there was something different about me. “You feel lighter,” she said. And she wasn’t talking about my appearance.
Not until I sat back and thought about the two and a half weeks of life that had happened since I’d last saw her did I realize what a profound impact writing out my story had on me.
You see, when you live with the reality of a chronic disease, it can be really easy to let it control your life. Before you know it, you’ve surrendered all power to it because it just seems easier that way. But in sharing my story, I was reminded that I am actually stronger than my disease. I have a choice. I have the ability to improve the symptoms.
That doesn’t mean every day will be a good day or that I’ll be magically healed or that I will be able to eat what I want without a second thought. But it does mean I have a say in the whole thing.
It was almost a year ago when a dear friend and mentor asked me to think about what I’d given power to in my life. It’s taken me almost 12 months, but I finally have an answer. For the last nine years I’ve given power to my disease. And that was just the beginning.
There is immense freedom in looking back and realizing all that you’ve survived, in being reminded of your strength and resilience. You no longer have to be waiting in fear for the other shoe to drop, because, well, if it does, you will survive that too. And you will survive because you are the hero of your story, not the victim of it.
But you know my favorite part? We are heroes not in spite of our stories, but because of them. Because of the whole of them – the highest highs, the lowest lows, the ugly cries, the bad mistakes, the incredible accomplishments – all of it. After all, we all know a hero doesn’t become a hero without fighting a few battles and defeating a few stubborn enemies.