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I turned 50 yesterday, and I wanted to share a few things that I have learned over the years.

I learned that there are a balance of good days and days that are not in our favour at times.

I have learned that at times we have to be our own biggest fan.

I have learned that not everyone agrees with our decisions.

I have learned that it is okay to have our own opinions.

I have learned that sharing feelings can be difficult.

I have learned that not sharing our feelings can be even more difficult.

Most recently, I have learned that living with mental illness and addictions makes for a life full of challenges.

I have learned that having a few good friends assist on the more difficult days.

I have learned that sharing our innermost secrets can scare people.

I have learned that the people who want to understand us stay, even when they are scared.

There will be people on our paths that will make the journey painful.

I have learned that most often I have been my worst enemy.

My reality is that at 50 I am able to stand up and say, “I live with PTSD and I am in recovery from alcoholism”. Yet, my age has helped me realize that I need to do what’s best for me.

I need to be honest with my doctors and psychiatrists.

I need to be honest with people I am in relationships with.

I need to love me, warts and all. Then, I can stand up and say, “I am living a full life, despite the bumps, the bruises and the pain.”

I have learned this through living many years in denial, and in fear of what others may think of me.

Today, what matters the most is that I have accepted my character flaws, and still be comfortable with the person that I am.
My greatest lesson, then, is knowing that when I am in pain, I am not my pain. Rather I am my healer, and that healer is my will to get up another day, and go forward.

About Charlotte Edwards

I am a mother, a friend, and a co-worker. I work as a social worker and each day I live with the effects of PTSD and the struggles of being in recovery from alcoholism.

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