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Learning to Have Faith in Yourself

Teresa Mealer

Teresa Mealer has struggled with low self-esteem her whole life, but at the age of 55 she's finding a higher purpose in life, and the willingness to face her challenges head-on.

It took meeting her husband, Darrell, and becoming a mother to three boys, to finally show Teresa that she had a greater purpose. "I had to get myself together once I became a mother, because I was their role model."

Teresa began volunteering and poured the rest of her energy into being a wife and mother. Her life was turning into her dreams, until her vision began to falter in 2004, leading her on a frightful path. She sought the expertise of countless doctors, but none had the answers. Teresa tried to ignore her symptoms, until the day she awoke to complete blindness in her left eye and seizure-like symptoms.

With a diagnosis of a damaged optic nerve, she found a wonderful team of doctors and the determination to rise above her circumstances. As luck would have it, Teresa also stumbled upon Hadley.

"Hadley's self-esteem course forced me to look deep inside myself. I was forced to ask myself questions such as, ‘Why do I feel this way?'" Teresa recalled. "Since then, I have come to love and accept the challenges in my life; today, I can say I am happy with myself."

Teresa also found inspiration from her Hadley instructor, Jennifer Ottowitz, whose endless support helped Teresa look inward and examine lingering, self-defeating thoughts and beliefs.

Along with the support from the people in her life, Teresa's very best, four-legged friend, Chuck, helped her tackle another accomplishment—becoming a certified guide-dog owner, through Guide Dogs of the Desert.

"My dog is another hero in my life. He is my protector and companion. With him, so much is possible, and together we can help others who are struggling in their own lives."

It is safe to say that Teresa's "can do" attitude is contagious, attracting those who want to be surrounded by her kindness and positivity. Teresa is currently scheduled to speak at an upcoming fundraiser for Guide Dogs of the Desert.

"I'm honored to be their speaker. I can't believe it. When I first lost my eyesight, I thought ‘how can I possibly be a wife and mother? How can I care for others, if I can't care for myself?' What I've proven to myself is that with the right perspective, it is possible to do anything. I truly believe I am a better wife, mother and role model because of my journey, and I am excited to share my story, and maybe help another find their best self too."

Visit hadley.edu to enroll in Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness.

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