A woman with open hands has light flowing out of them

The Confidence To Say Yes To Your Dreams (Part 1)

Following your dreams while living with hidradenitis suppurativa is complicated. What we plan to do today differs from what we can do tomorrow. Each day presents new challenges, which means some days we might have the energy to make a Tiktok, and tomorrow, we are dealing with a debilitating abscess. I think that life is about embracing the successes and detours we experience.

Success isn't linear

In a society that glorifies grind culture, guilt can creep up when we aren't showing up for our dreams consistently. This mentality may lead us to believe we will only succeed if we work towards our goals linearly, but success isn't a linear pathway. So, I'm unsure why grind culture shapes it this way.

Embracing the non-linear nature of success is one of the only ways I've been able to dream big and not put so much pressure on myself. I personally would stay away from anyone who tries to paint success like it's one-size, fits all. There's nothing straight and narrow about actualizing your dreams.

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The path to full time advocacy

In 2017, with the help of my therapist, I realized I wanted to be a full-time HS advocate. At the time, I didn't know how it would happen. There weren't any examples online that I could reference in my everyday life. I encouraged myself to start thinking about what I wanted to do as an advocate.

I made vision boards of this life. I plotted with friends, even though they would often be as confused as I was. I would find one small step to get me closer to that goal.

That catapulted me over seven years to full-time advocacy. Between that time, I dealt with extreme bouts of depression, suicidal ideation, lack of motivation, roadblocks, and so much more. I took steps when I could, but I was in no rush. There were times when I thought I was crazy for thinking I could travel the world telling my story, but now that I'm doing that. I guess it wasn't so crazy after all.

Small opportunities appeared. Then, I saw offers for prominent campaigns. But those opportunities were only possible because of the small ones. I was determined and doubtful. What a wonder it is to embrace both/and existence.

Managing my own health was key to my success

I used to subscribe to the idea that if I worked more than I ate, slept, and socialized, the world would one day be mine. It wasn't until my body shut down on me in 2020 through half of 2022, did I realize what this mentality was doing to me.

I found myself constipated beyond all belief, my HS was flaring, and I was more depressed and anxious than I'd ever been. Then, I started figuring out how to show up for my dreams without sacrificing my health. I cannot serve myself or others properly without my health and well-being.

Managing my health and wellness was the key to my success and sustainability. Uncovering my journey is only a part of this three-part series. In the next part, I lay out tangible steps you can take to say yes to your dreams regardless of where you are in your HS journey.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HSDisease.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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