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TRU: The Real U

One Woman With Inner Beauty Can Change the World

Here’s to Strong Women!

Here’s to Strong Women!

I found this on a basic internet search, but it stuck out to me: What is a strong woman? Is it someone who is aggressive, domineering, or controlling? No! Whether talkative or quiet, athletic or artsy, working as a CEO or in the home, strong women can be found everywhere. They are women who know who they are, who understand that they are daughters of God and have incredible potential to do good. Women have a huge capacity to make a difference in the world. So go out there and make that difference! Share...

Reflections: My Story

Reflections: My Story

Voices in my head told me I was worthless, that there was no hope for me, that no matter how hard I tried I would never be good enough. . . . I choose to share my experience in the hopes that it may encourage others who are struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel. By Erica C. I don’t gaze at myself in the mirror as a general rule. But this morning is different. This morning, I stop to smile at the woman looking back at me. As I stand there, I recall a time when I could hardly stand to glance at myself in a mirror. I had no desire to confront the stranger that greeted me each time I dared steal a desperate look. I couldn’t bear to see those empty eyes and glued-on smile. No amount of makeup could conceal the sadness and guilt that seemed to ooze out of my pores. I was frightened of what I saw. I am pulled back to the present by a tugging at my leg. I reach down to pick up my precious one-year-old daughter. She giggles at her reflection and I hug her tightly, reveling in the light and joy she emanates. Many know of my past struggles. Many more do not. Some know me only as I am now. They are familiar with the positive and upbeat woman looking back at me this morning. Probably few would guess that the person they know today is a result of suffering, of overcoming, of having to pick myself up again and again . . . and again. Some know of my battles, and were once well-acquainted with the girl who dared not look in the mirror. It wasn’t many years ago that I was at the lowest point in my life. I had been struggling with depression and anxiety to varying degrees for a few years, when a series of life circumstances led me on a downward spiral towards severe mental and emotional instability. I had become a complete stranger to myself and to those who loved me. I was diagnosed with major clinical depression and related mental illnesses that complicated my ability to form healthy relationships and led to victimization by those who preyed on my insecurity. I was racked with self-loathing, perpetual anxiety, and unrelenting fear. Voices in my head told me I was worthless, that there was no hope for me, that no matter how hard I tried I would never be good enough. They told me that I was a burden and that the people in my life would be better off without me. These persistent voices obliterated my ability to reason properly. Over the course of a few months, I was hospitalized three times for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. To my diseased mind, there was no future for me that did not hold more pain, more mistakes, and more self-sabotage. I saw no point in going on. It was during my last stay in a psychiatric health facility that I reached a turning point. I was lying on an uncomfortable bed in a cold, cheerless room that felt like a jail cell. I was alone and terrified. The only light in the room was a murky gleam from a small, barred window. I had never felt so completely forsaken. I was just about to close my eyes, pleading for the respite of sleep, when the setting sun positioned itself directly within the tiny window frame and flooded the room with a soft, warm glow. In that moment, a loving voice pierced the darkness of my mind. “There is a reason you are here,” it said. “You have an important work to do. Do not give up.” I was overcome with the knowledge that God had not forsaken me. I knew I was not alone, even in that lonely place. A feeling of deep purpose enveloped me as something inside reawakened. In that rare moment of clarity and love, I made a deep, inward commitment. I decided I was going to get better. I decided that no matter how long it took, how hard it was, or how many setbacks I had . . . I was going to get through this. I wanted my life back. I wanted myself back. I wanted to move forward, to put all of this behind me and become who I had I always wanted to be. Please do not misunderstand me. I’m not saying from that moment on, everything was sunshine and roses. I’m not saying that all I had to do was “decide to be happy.” Like...