For the past year, you have read about my experiences living with learning disabilities. I have shared moments of being bullied and harassed in school, and being discriminated against and rejected by family members, prospective employers and society as a whole because of my condition.

I have described my feelings of anger and bitterness over the mistreatment, but I honestly felt so much worse than that.

The horrible bullying and harassment I received in junior high led to me picking my skin, mostly my nails.

I didn't trust anyone. I'm sure I missed out on great opportunities and relationships because I was so afraid of getting hurt.

I wrapped myself in this invisible bubble for years to protect myself from experiencing any more pain... not fully realizing that I was only making it worse.

I should have gotten help, but my anxiety prevented me from doing so. Obviously, that was a clear sign that I needed it!

I took my negativity out on those who genuinely cared and loved me. After each outburst and apology, I would be so scared that they wouldn't be there anymore. They stuck by me, though... knowing that I was battling a very tough fight with my past.

I must have spent nearly 30 years reading all sorts of self-help books, some more than once. I was just so desperate to be free from all my pain! Yet, with the end of one book and the promise of taking the advice I read to heart, I would forget about what I had just read and go back down the same destructive path.

It wasn't until the death of my maternal grandmother in 2011 that I finally realized how badly I needed help. I found a very good book on recovering from depression at a local library that was very beneficial in getting me started down the path to healing. Once again, I reread all of the other self-help books with the stone-cold hard promise to take the advice seriously.

It's been a long process. I have had to re-read a few more self-help books but I can sincerely say that I am well on my way to complete recovery. I say that humbly, of course.

I have come to understand that I am going to experience all sorts of discrimination because of my being learning disabled.

I am not going to be hired for a 9-to-5 job because potential employers will consider me too much of a liability. Yes, I know I am protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act, but it isn't a fight I really want to get into.

I have accepted that the only way to make money on a regular basis, is to become self-employed. As luck would have it, I am doing my dream job: I am working with dogs and I am pursuing a career as a writer.

What is saddest of all is that several family members have rejected me. That really stung, but I have wonderful, supportive parents who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

To end this article, I wish to tell my fellow learning-disabled individuals:

Do not make the same mistakes I made. Don't give away your power to anyone especially to your naysayers.

You are just as special as the next person. You deserve to be here.Live your life on your own terms.

Listen to advice and constructive criticism but in the end…make up your own mind.