My life has, so far, been far from ordinary.
I have learnt that through telling people your story you can make a profound impact and create an instant connection. Telling people what you've done, where you've been and what struggles you've overcome, can give them inspiration and give yourself authority.
In September of 2012 I married Katie. I was just over 21 when I got married. This is when most people express shock, or disgust. It is often assumed that because we are a young couple, we must be a naive couple. Hopefully, through reading my story, you'll be inclined to disagree.
From the age of 19 I have been a full time carer to my wife. She has the chronic illnesses, fibromyalgia and M.E., which means most days she can't get out of bed and she needs a wheelchair/scooter whenever she leaves the house. Me and my wife fight everyday to not let this situation dictate our lives. Our aspirations are high, we refuse to be held back because we know that there in an amazing life waiting for us.
I'm in the middle of doing a history degree. It's tough doing a degree, whilst being a full time carer and working a part time job, but, I'm passionate about my subject, and frankly, I'm good at it too.
I have a busy, sometimes difficult, but always wonderful life. It's a lot of pressure, and I have a lot of responsibility, much more than the average 21 year old. I've had to fight to get what I have, and must continue to fight so that I can live a fruitful life.
I hasn't always been a smooth ride. For a number of year, I've struggled with mental illness. I've gone from pill to pill, I've gone backward and I've gone forward, I've been in and out of hospital, and I've spent more time with counsellors than I'd care to guess at. The important thing, however, is that I'm still working to overcome my situation, and to turn a negative into something remarkable. I refuse to be silenced by the darkness that tries in infiltrate my life.
I draw my strength from several places. I am inspired by the acts and words of other people. I wear words of encouragement like armour to protect me from negativity.
My wife is also an amazing source of strength for me. While I care for her physically, she continually feeds back into me. She gives me strength, encouragement and wisdom. She's the greatest fighter that I've ever met. She oozes strength and power, even when she's in too much pain to move.
My greatest source of strength, however, comes from God. For two years I've been a Christian and been part of a life changing church. My faith has kept me alive, literally. It's a constant reminder that I have potential to change the world, and my church is giving me the tools to do just that. I do things, with God, that I could hardly have imagined without him.
This is, of course, a snapshot of my story. I have so much more to tell you, and every single day, I'm working no adding more. Consider this a trailer. For the full length feature, keep reading this blog, and more will be revealed.