The Need For Acceptance

My name is Sanjana Saxena and I was diagnosed with asthma when I was three years old. As you can imagine, asthma was a condition I faced for such a long time, that it became a part of my identity. My parents never made me feel conscious about it, and until I started schooling, I didn't even realize that there was any stigma attached to the use of the inhaler.

School was where I learned about how my condition made me different from my peers and it led to me being embarrassed of my asthma. The jokes eventually got so bad that I refused to use my inhaler at school, even when I was struck by a wheezing fit.

Unaware of what was happening, my mother signed me up for tennis and swimming classes and it was here where I had to relearn the importance of accepting my asthma. I slowly felt comfortable about using an inhaler around others and the doctor’s counsel helped me to overcome my embarrassment about inhalers. I finally accepted that inhaler is like my friend which helps me manage my asthma. I also accepted that asthma was now a part of my life and the best way to deal with it was the correct treatment and approach towards it.

This acceptance helped me years later when I joined college and was again singled out as the 'girl with asthma' by my peers. The only difference this time was that I was not embarrassed by my condition. I accepted my asthma as a part and parcel of who I was as a person and knew that as long as I accepted myself, the comments that people threw my way would have no effect on my self-esteem.

It is as Tyrion Lannister from the Game Of Thrones series once said, "Wear your flaws like an armour and the world can never use it against you".

- Sanjana Saxena

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