I used to believe that the definition of strength is to suppress ones emotions, show no fear and never admit defeat. As I have navigated through 27 years of life, I have grown to realize that strength is in fact quite the opposite.
My name is Elizabeth, I am a bilingual Latina and first generation college graduate. I am a professional in my graphic design career and I suffer with a silent disease: Depression, anxiety and chronic migraines.
Growing up I always felt different and chose to stand in the shadows. I let my headaches control my life and my secure four walls keep me safe while I anticipated the next episode. As a teen I watched my mother suffer from a silent disease herself, a traumatic brain injury. But unlike me, she would still make public appearances, talk openly about her experience, seek help and politely excuse herself when she needed to rest. Her rest lasted up to a few days but she would always get right back up and start where she left off.
It wasn’t until my early twenties that I was finally able to let go and follow her lead. I have experienced so many freeing but challenging life stepping-stones such as pain, loss, heartache, and plain old depressed for no reason depression. All of these challenges have challenged me to see and accept the beauty of the yin and the yang. I simply cannot experience happiness if I don’t first handedly experience the darkness that comes before it. I have learned to welcome emotions and tears. I have learned to accept that this disease is part of me. Only I can decide how to react to my setbacks and only I can challenge them right back.
I proudly identify as a strong woman. I am a woman who lets people see my tears just as openly as my laughter. I am a strong woman that is allowed to feel, cry, and fail all while getting back up and trying again and again to get to where I want to be. I have set my own bar and live up to my own standards, nobody else’s.