Candace's Story - My journey to love

"At the age of 21, I was about to go through the most traumatic thing one could think of."

Image with illustration of a Purple Heart

At the age of 21, I was a student at Louisiana State University about to go through the most horrific and traumatic thing one could think of.

My brother had shot and killed my boyfriend and then turned the gun on himself in the middle of a restaurant where I thought they were meeting to “work things out.”

I remember waking up the morning after struggling with reality and I decided to seek mental health help right away.

I’ve been in the mental health system ever since the incident and have come across some pretty amazing people that have helped me along my journey.

Some were people just like me dealing with their own mental struggles.

Throughout the years I had dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the incident. This disease was the underlying issue for my depression and anxiety.

When I was 26 I had a stillborn and once again I was in a very traumatic time in my life.

Not only were my medications not helping but I saw no point in living and I had cut off all contact and became very isolated.

I got to the point where I decided to try to take my own life.  I jumped 35 feet onto concrete.

After the jump, I remember waking up in the hospital struggling with the thoughts that brought me to the point of taking my own life.

As if the physical pain I was in wasn't enough. I still had the daunting thoughts that brought me to the darkest place I've ever been.

Friends and family started visiting me while in the hospital and I started to feel cared for and wanted in this life. It was a slow process.

It took a while to feel connected to the people that I had strayed from while coping with my daughter's death.

When I came back home, I was pretty much in a full-body cast, bedridden.

After getting out of the body cast, I was able to be in a wheelchair, which I was in for 8 months until I started walking again.

I remember the first time I took steps around my neighborhood and my boyfriend started crying.

As time goes by, I sought healthy coping skills to deal with my daughter's death and the past trauma in my life.

I began to draw which was something I loved to do while in college. I also liked to spend time journaling even if it's only 15 minutes out of the day.

These coping skills help me feel vibrant and alive. I now have a beautiful baby boy who is 11 weeks old.

I love and cherish my son and look forward to waking up and caring for him every morning.

It fills my heart with joy to know that life had a baby boy in store for me after losing a baby.

Candace with her son

Though he can't replace my daughter, my heart has grown to love them both, and most importantly I have grown to love myself.

A few things that I wanted to share that I learned from my journey and I hope that you can find some guidance from these pointers:

  1. If you're struggling with suicidal idealizations make sure to reach out. Don’t keep these emotions to yourself. It's important to let someone know.
  2. Make sure to prioritize yourself and spend time doing things that make you feel good as long they're healthy things. For me, this is drawing, buying a new jacket, or even spending time watching a show.
  3. Also, remember don’t give up 5 seconds before the miracle. Many of us make rash decisions. Make sure to slow down and trust in the process, and know that life has something positive for you. The law of attraction is amazing and has been a helpful tool for me to have positive things happen to me.  
  4. This reminds me to mention lastly, you are worthy, worthy to be alive and have good things happen. Your journey matters make it amazing!
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