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'Follow your heart, not your brain to find success' - Guest column by Neelu Jindal

Living with muscular dystrophy (MD) has many challenges. This refers to a group of genetic disorders linked with gradual loss of muscle tissue and muscle strength. In our weekly guest column, NewzHook reader Neelu Jindal shares her ups and downs coping with MD.

Behind every inspirational picture, lies a story of constant pain, effort and determination. There are some people in the world who fight an unseen battle within themselves 24x7 with a big smile on their face. I call them warriors because these people know the art of living.

This is the story of a girl who made people realize that it is not always the problems that are big but people who are too small and unable to handle them. This is the story of a girl who over time that real happiness doesn't lie in success, money or fame. It lies within US! Real happiness lies in gratitude and I want to share my story.

I have been coping with muscular dystrophy since the age of 14 years. This is a disease that causes weakness, even loss of muscle mass. Unfortunately, there is no cure but proper therapy and medication can help manage the symptoms of this disease to some extent.

I am handling the disease as I am dependent on medications. Life has been always difficult for me, but my determination to achieve something better in life keeps me going. At present, I am living a normal life and earning my living by giving tuitions. At the same time, I am preparing for government sector jobs. Given that muscular dystrophy is a progressive muscle disorder, I am forced to stay at home.

Start of a change

This disorder started showing up when I was a student. I was unable to climb stairs or take public transport and had to be accompanied by my parents all the time. They ensured I completed my education. I also had a good bunch of friends who were supportive. They helped with carrying my bags and books to school and I completed my graduation. I also did a masters degree and applied for the post of English lecturer but as luck would have it, my admit card was cancelled due to some unavoidable circumstances.

I am still working to sit for the Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Service Selection Board (UPSSEB) exam and doctors marvel at my will power and determination. I am also highly inspired by Sanjana Goel, president of the NGO Indian Association of Muscular Dystrophy. I volunteer with the NGO and through this experience I have got to know a number of people with a similar muscular disease.

Life was once completely pointless for me and I felt that I was rejected by God. I thought if God didn't want me, why would my friends want me? Before they could put me out of their lives, I wanted to be the one to do it and all of a sudden, I cut off contact with them. I didn't step out of the bedroom for some time and didn't interact with guests who visited home and did not step out of my room.

This was a tough phase and I lost the confidence to face the world. I felt betrayed by everyone, though it was no one's fault. I kept asking God, "Why me"? One fine day, when I was all by myself, I felt as if someone spoke to me. It could be my inner self or a divine power which answered my question. It said, "You are my special angel. I did not make you ordinary because I want you to achieve the extraordinary and make a difference in the world."

That day I sat on the wheelchair for the first time. I was completely a different person. I still remember that I looked at my self in the mirror and I said you cannot wait for the miracle. I believe in the power of words. Many people speak before they think, but I know the value of words. They can make you, break you. They can heal your soul. They can damage you forever. so, I always try to use the positive words in my life wherever I go.

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