Most people experience an “epiphany” or turning point in their lives when everything they thought they wanted and everything they thought they knew changes. Sometimes it is a tragic event or a health scare that serves as a ‘wakeup call’ and causes the past and present to collide. You begin to look at life and your future in a completely different light and question things you normally would not. The things that were once important loses significance and you begin to realize how precious life is and who you can truly count on.

I may be considered young to some, but my own life has been no stranger to disappointment and setbacks. Surprisingly, I wouldn’t change a single thing that I have been through, because it has not only made me a stronger person, but it has made me truly appreciate life and look at it differently. With all of the negativity that has gone on throughout my life, nothing had as much of an effect on me as one particular incident did.

During the spring of 2009, the closest person in my life attempted to take their own life and came very close to succeeding. Everything about that day will forever be with me; the 5am phone call, the absolute shock and the hospital visit with my brother. Seeing his reaction and the condition my family member was in will forever haunt me. It opened my eyes to how precious life is and made me realize that it can change in a blink of an eye. I had a mixture of emotions – anger, betrayal, confusion and fear – but mostly I felt sad. Sad how someone that I loved so much and tried to help so many times, could so easily take their own life.

From that point on, I decided that there was nothing I couldn’t handle. I took away a new appreciation for life from that experience and wanted to be a positive example to those who looked up to me. I slowly weeded out the negativity within my own life and focused on bettering myself. You don’t realize how much inner strength you have until an unexpected situation occurs. My hope is that others do not need to have an epiphany before living a full, healthy and positive life. Always remain positive.

“That which does not kill you, only makes you stronger”