I used to think having an illness (a permanent diagnosis, not a fleeting ailment) was like coming to the end of the road. It was the death of a dream for normality, pure freedom, a healthy life. It was evidence of our vulnerability and a sentence to limitation forever.

The reality is much of what I believed is true. A mental or physical illness forces you to change. It puts you on a path you didn’t expect nor would you choose. But this week’s posts remind me that there’s something else about the journey I didn’t account for.

Being vulnerable to life’s challenges doesn’t make you weak. Enduring relationship difficulties, self-destructive behavior, addiction, or anxiety doesn’t mean you’re unlucky, life’s unfair or that you’ll never experience joy or happiness ever again. On the contrary, you have the greatest potential for a deep, happy and meaningful life.

Hope grows in challenging times. It’s all about perspective, finding your tribe and choosing to turn what’s bitter into something sweet. We may not be able to choose our families or our challenges, but we can choose the way we approach the journey with courage or fear.

{Etsy print by Whisker Prints}

{Etsy print by Whisker Prints}

Mental Health Awareness Week: Learning From Personal Experience
(Caregivers, Family & Friends) – In the pursuit of self-healing, real stories of hope are like medicine to the soul. Tune in to find out how others are dealing with the unimaginable.

Be Vulnerable. Be Brave. Be Free
(Mindfulness & Psychotherapy) – Unlike what we’ve been taught in our family, in the media and by society, vulnerability is a sign of courage not weakness. To be truly free, you need to release shame, let go of fear, and embrace the mantra taught here.

Self-Destructive Behavior in Addiction Prone People
(The Impact of Sex Addiction) – Is there a logical explanation behind self-destructive behavior? Learn why addicts continually hurt themselves and what can be done to help them stop that vicious cycle.

Anxiety Disorders, As Portrayed By Web Comics
(Panic About Anxiety) – It’s rare to find a visual representation of what you’re going through. But Summer’s found them in a collection of web comics illustrating what it’s like having an anxiety disorder.

Why Relationships Break Up
(Relationships in Balance) – If you’ve ever wondered why a relationship ended, read this. You’ll get a better understanding of yourself and past and current relationships.