Happy Through Trials: A Woman Shares 3 Little Known Ways to Stay Positive During Trials

At 14 years old, I found out that my 'manila envelope' was stuffed full. A life-changing event made my teenage years even more emotionally tumultuous and depression consumed me. At 16, I was in my first major car accident. It was around this time that I began having horrific back pain that didn't go away with rest. I chalked it up to the car accident. At 17, I had my heart broken for the first time. Dealing with immense physical and emotional pain, I found solace in drugs, alcohol, and smoking heavily. I went from a 3.9 GPA and scholarship opportunities to not caring and failing classes. I could sleep 23 hours a day and never come out of my room. I wallowed in self-pity and my relationships suffered. For the next couple of years, I wandered aimlessly and partied hard.

At 20, I was set up on a blind date with a cute electrician who loved to read as much as me and had these amazing aqua blue eyes that were always smiling. That cute electrician is my husband today. Let me go back to my story though.  Tyler saved me. It was at this time I didn't think my life was valuable or that I was worth anything. I felt terrible all the time and I treated my body like crap. For reasons I don't understand, Tyler stood by me, loved me, and encouraged me to be a better person. I quit smoking. I got a great job. Most importantly, I sought treatment for my depression and anxiety.

Happy Through Trials: A Woman Shares 3 Little Known Ways to Stay Positive During Trials

In 2011, my back pain had gotten worse and had moved to my hips. Long story short, my doctor ordered labs and one of the tests came back positive. The test that came back positive was a genetic marker for a relatively rare autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis. "Anky-what???" I remember saying when the doctor called me with results.  I was referred to a rheumatologist and an MRI confirmed that I had ankylosing spondylitis. At 24 years old, my life was changed with those two words and the knowledge that my spine and hips were slowly fusing. I was put on a chemotherapy drug right away to suppress my immune system. I was sick and tired all the time and my depression came back with a vengeance.

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