Are You a Victim or a Survivor?

How do you see yourself?

Are you a victim of your illnesses or are you a survivor?

What’s the difference?

As defined by dictionairy.com

Victim:
1. person who suffers from an injurious action or event
2. person who is cheated

Survivor:
1. to remain alive
2. to live through

At times I feel victimized by my illnesses, however I don’t see myself as a victim. Does that make sense?

I refuse to think that a victim is WHO or what I am. My illnesses are ones that I live with, however they are not who I am. The word victim sounds so final and hopeless. "Victim" paints an image in my mind of being robbed of everything and left with nothing. That is not me, I am not a victim.

I am a survivor. There are things in my life that cannot be taken away from me, as long as I’m alive and being true to myself and those in my life. My life has changed drastically over the years, in order for me to live the best life I can. I have felt "robbed" many times throughout this journey, and that is when I have to remind myself that the things I’ve had to put aside or give up altogether do not define who I am.

I am still the woman who loves with all my heart, laughs to the tip of my toes, and cries until my tears run out when I am sad.

In my eyes, being a survivor is waking up each morning and finding a way to get through each day, to the best of you ability. Being a survivor is maintaining your hope and faith despite your obstacles. It is being your true self, and not giving up because life is tough. It is embracing those around you who may not understand from their own experiences what you are going through, but are still walking by your side because of the person you are, and that is the person they love.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you are reading this, I want to take this opportunity to tell you that regardless of how you see yourself, I see you as a survivor!

~ Gentle Hugs

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6 Responses to Are You a Victim or a Survivor?

  1. I’m glad you see yourself as a survivor. I think it’s important to reach that point of strength in any illness. I’ve often wondered if people who see themselves as victims aren’t more prone to things going bad…
    Anyway, I enjoy reading about your strength. Don’t lose it.

    • Nancy says:

      (((Thanks))) I think the more we can try to have a positive attitude (which as we all know, is alot easier said than done!) the more open we are to seeing the good instead of being consumed by the bad.
      Every little positive step helps.

  2. “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”
    I am a survivor.
    I was born with hydrocephalus (www.hydroassoc.org), a condition which required my undergoing 15 brain surgeries by the time I was 17 years old (and two more when I was 32). I was diagnosed with CFS in ’91, and fibromyalgia in ’98.
    My parents spent the first half of my life making sure I understood how ashamed they were of my hydrocephalus. I was literally not allowed to talk to anyone, outside of family/doctors about it. As a result, I felt like I couldn’t explain to anyone why I “walked funny”. I had few friends, and by the time I was 14 my parents decided I needed a shrink, because they’d rather pay someone else to talk to me, than talk to/listen to me themselves for free.
    I joined the Hydrocephalus Association (the link I mentioned earlier) in ’98. I’ve been attending their biannual conventions ever since. The Maternal Unit attended the first one with me, so she could personally ensure I didn’t embarrass her further. The rest of my family followed suit in ’00, ’02 and ’04. After that, they decided it was “too emotionally draining”, and they couldn’t be bothered anymore.
    It still hasn’t occurred to them that being on the outside looking in is Not The Same Thing. At All.
    When I got to college and realized that not everyone’s parents treated them that way, I began to develop self confidence. That self confidence was bolstered after I got my own computer, internet access, and my first chat program.
    I met my husband through match.com. In the profile I posted, I was completely honest about my health, and the limitations that placed on me. My husband didn’t care. Our first face to face meeting was when I was in the hospital recovering from my hysterectomy. I had the surgery 1/14/04. He came to visit 1/17/04. Our first official date was 1/23/04, my 32nd birthday, after I was out of the hospital. We were unofficially engaged by Valentine’s Day of that year, and we married 3/12/05.
    Joining the Hydrocephalus Association, meeting my husband and his extended family, and knowing they love and accept me unconditionally, is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. At this point I have very little contact with my side of the family. I’ve had enough of ridicule and negativity. I’m ready to put my best face forward, and to play whatever hand I’m dealt with courage and dignity.

    • Nancy says:

      Re: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”
      WOW! You sure are a survivor!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story here, you are such an inspiration!
      Reading how you met your husband was so heartwarming! What a beautiful example that we all have so much to offer each other and that the love we all deserve is the unconditional kind.
      ((((lots of gentle hugs)))
      Nancy

      • Re: "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger"
        Thank you for your kind response. My apologies to anyone else if I came across as a self-important whiner 🙂

        • Nancy says:

          Re: "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger"
          My dear, you have no reason to apologize to anyone for sharing your story! That’s what we are all here to do!
          (((gentle hugs)))
          Nancy

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