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[Day 14] My Story

My story

Before I share a bit about how I came to do what I do and more importantly be who I am, I want to say this (it’s something I have to remind myself of often).

Your story matters.

And it is of equal importance to share your story in a way that feels good to you. If your intention in sharing your experiences is to get others to feel sorry for you, to make yourself sound better than other people or to sustain being a victim, look at that. Be honest with yourself and get crystal clear about your intentions.

I say this because the stories we tell ourselves become our reality. And if we continue to repeat the ones that make us feel negative emotion, we will continue to repeat the same things. Maybe not in the same way, but they will manifest in some form.

So, if you feel good when you’re telling it and if you know in your heart it will help other people, then share it.

End preach.

My intention in sharing my story is to help teens and parents alike know first and foremost, they are not alone. Secondly, that it doesn’t last forever. And third, because I know the route I went could have been a lot shorter had I known what I know now.

Legal disclaimer: The information provided below is not intended to replace the medical advice of a qualified health care professional or to be used as therapy. Carrie Leigh Sandoval assumes no responsibility for the results generated.

So when I was a teenager, I was a total mess. I was having panic attacks multiple times a day, using drugs, not eating and would hurt myself in any way I could – namely cutting myself with whatever I could find.

Why? Because it was the only thing that brought me relief, the only coping technique I had.

I felt alone, afraid and responsible for all the crap going on in my house. In a place where I felt so much and didn’t have a voice or a place to express my pain, cutting was the only way I could communicate how bad I was hurting and what the constant fighting and being put in the middle of it was doing to me.

I was hospitalized, medicated, saw numerous doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, you name it. And while I am grateful these things exist and they did temporarily stabilize me, I continued to repeat the same unhealthy habits and patterns – never fully healing or learning positive coping strategies.

Everywhere I went, these labels defined me. I felt insane. Broken. Like I needed to be fixed. But all I truly wanted was to feel like a human being.

To be seen. Heard. Loved and respected for being myself, not just when I was being who everyone else needed me to be.

There was a whole lot of pressure on me to be the perfect daughter so everyone else would be okay. But it wasn’t until I started to accept myself and take my healing into my own hands that everything began to change.

It took me years and years of struggle and self-study to understand that I wasn’t broken or insane. I was just a young girl having a normal response to really insane circumstances.

Committing to showing up for myself is something I have to practice every day, but I’ve now been sober for over 5 years, haven’t cut myself in close to 6 and am no longer taking prescription medications.

I have a beautiful family, a job I love, but most importantly I no longer feel like there is something inherently wrong with who I am.

Having a mentor who got me and didn’t try to fix me inspired me to do this work.

I can’t tell you how badly I wanted someone to just say, “Hey, you’re not crazy. You’re alright. Everything is going to be alright.”

I love that I now get to share this experience and understanding with other young people, especially the girls, who feel the same way I felt.

And I love being able to help parents stop blaming themselves because really it’s not their fault.

Knowing these experiences can help others unlock their courage, strength and power of choice, gives me hope (and puts a smile on my face).

We are all here for a reason and you never know who you might help or the impact you’ll have by sharing your story.

There’s a lot more to mine, but this is all I’m going to share today. Now I want to hear from you.

What story do you share that reminds you of how amazing you are? Or what story keeps you going when you’re feeling low and need to be inspired? Leave me a comment below.

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