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    Where imperfections are perfect and flaws are flawless

    Depression. Anxiety. Bipolar Disorder. Schizoaffective Disorder.

    My story runs deep. My name is Laura and I am 36 years old. I am a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and a nanny, but more than that, I am a Christian. I am a Christian who is resilient in the face of adversity.

    I want to show and tell the world that I am a survivor and if I can make it, so can anyone else.

    Life has thrown numerous hardballs my way. Many of which I have taken my fair share of swings at, and missed. However, failure to succeed does not scare me. For I know that sometimes I have to try again and again in order to get all the pieces of my life to align. I am a conqueror; a true battler by nature. I have fought many battles in life and have developed many issues because of the rough path I was given. To give you an idea as to what I am referring to I will share a handful of my struggles.

    To begin, my birth mother left me as an infant. I’m sure you can imagine the heartache, the grief, the loneliness and the low self-esteem that comes from one’s mother leaving. My father ended up remarrying, however his second marriage was a tragedy for me as well.

    His wife’s father sexually molested me from the age of two until the age of six.

    It’s very sad that my earliest memory as a child is one of a sick man touching me in places that he should have never had access to. Additionally, my dad’s second wife was VERY abusive to me. She used to beat me. She slapped me in my face as a young girl so hard that she made my nose bleed. This happened more than once, more than twice, more times than I care to speak about. She sat on me and continuously punched me in my face and pulled my hair. She also mentally abused me, telling me I wasn’t good enough because my mother left me. She told me horror stories about my mother, like, “your mother didn’t want you so bad that she tried to abort you in the bathroom with a clothes hanger and after you were born, she tried to sell you on the black market”.

    She constantly told me that I was ugly, fat and unworthy of love from anyone. Just those three things alone are enough to make anyone want to cease to exist. However, not me. Remember, I am a conqueror, a battler. I chose to rise above all of that and make something of myself and my future. I graduated high school, paid my own way through college, and in 2007 I graduated with a BA in Business from Southeastern Louisiana University.

    In addition to demons of my youth, I’ve also been battling depression and anxiety since I was 19. However, I’ve always known that I was “unique,” and that my chemical makeup was different from everyone else’s.

    When I was 30, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    I took a solid medicine regimen that helped alleviate my symptoms, until I became pregnant and had to stop all meds. After my daughter was born, I got back on my regimen but found it was not nearly as effective as it was pre-pregnancy. I had to find a new psychiatrist to get the help I desperately needed. For the past two years, I have been up and down trying to find a med that helps. A few months ago, I started seeing a psychologist on a weekly basis and have been reevaluated, given a new diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.

    I can’t believe that I just turned 36 and life is STILL changing.

    I’m here because I’m tired of keeping secrets and going at this alone.

    Also, I pray that my voice can be the voice of so many others afraid to speak up out of fear of judgment, abandonment, and rejection. I want others like me to know that they are not alone in this thing called Life.

    Sharing my story has given me faith and hope in a worldly understanding of mental illness and has given me the courage to speak out about my new diagnosis, schizoaffective disorder, a disorder who’s name in and of itself sounds scary enough. Imagine actually living it.

    Sharing my story and helping others has made it easier for me to live with this. It has given me a voice, an avenue in which to express myself. And I can’t express enough gratitude for just that alone.

    There are others like you; others who understand you, others who will respect and accept you. Don’t be afraid anymore.