Occasionally the news or day time talk shows will run a story on how so many percent of women take on too much, that they put themselves last when it comes to family and run themselves ragged taking on too many tasks. They always talk about how women feel the need to be superwoman and do it all. Why do we take on so much and spread ourselves so thin? Are we trying to prove to the opposite sex or our peers that we can do it all? What is it that makes us go above and beyond, ignoring our brain and bodies, pushing ourselves to do more? Personally, I like to feel independent, that I can care for myself and that I don’t need anyone’s help. But it took a major health scare for me to change the way I think I should live my life. For the last ten years I’ve dealt with a chronic illness called Auto-Immune Hepatitis. Auto-Immune Hepatitis is a disease in which your immune system treats your liver like an infection and attacks it. There is usually some cirrhosis(scarring) of the liver, sometimes so bad that you need a transplant. When I first became ill with my disease my menstrual cycle stopped, I had gallstones in my Gallbladder and I had scarring on my liver similar to that of an alcoholic. Thankfully after a year of being treated with medications and a surgery to remove my gallbladder the disease had went into remission and I could assume a normal life. For two years everything was going well and I was slowly tapered off my medication, just in time for my 21st birthday. However, around this time I was working at a dog groomers where I was responsible for bathing and drying dogs and cleaning the work room. It was a lot of work and I was running myself down. But I choose to stick with the job, ignore my body, and save up as much money as I could before I started my second college in the fall. I didn’t listen to my body and I paid the consequences. Not only did I end up in the hospital, but my illness had spread, which can happen. Now my body wasn’t just attacking my liver, but also my spleen. I was once again placed on medication and my health improved. Over the next couple of years I would relapse once more after coming off my medication, which then it was decided by my doctor that I would have to remain on my medication. About four years ago I began to suffer from extreme weakness and muscular pain. Pain that was so bad that I basically became unable to care for myself. I was on pain killers just so I could sleep at night. I saw numerous specialists who performed multiple procedures on me. Everything from a lumbar puncture to a muscle biopsy was ordered. Not a single doctor knew what was wrong with me and for three years I suffered in pain while nothing was done. After my liver specialist retired I had to find a new one, who became my hero. Dr. Park quickly discovered the cause of my constant pain, it was from being on my medication for such a long time. He was determined to get me better and off my medication for good. Within a year I was in remission and feeling better than I ever had. Two years after being in remission I was offered a graphic design position at the North Shore Animal League of America. I was thrilled to be working at a job in an office. My travel to work and home was four hours and to work on top of a eight hour work shift. I loved my job, designing is my passion and being around cute animals didn’t hurt at all. I was even allowed to bring my dog to work which was totally a bonus. Then into my fourth week of work I caught a cold from someone at work. Because of my Auto-Immune Hepatitis I have a weakened immune system, so fighting off a cold for me takes stronger medication and a longer time. I was completely run down once I got sick but I went to work and pushed through. Then a week later I noticed my urine was dark, something I’ve had before because of my auto-immune disease (bilirubin spilling out of your liver because it’s working improperly). I ignored the symptoms and continued to work another three weeks until I broke. I hadn’t been eating for the last three days because I felt nauseous and had asked my boss if I could go home early after I finished my work. That night I had noticed my eyes were yellow and I knew it was time to go to the hospital. This time I had relapsed really bad. My doctor was extremely concerned with how high my liver enzymes were. I had put off calling my doctor because I didn’t want to let my job down and it was going to be only another two weeks before I was going to see him. So why didn’t I listen to my body? Because I thought I could do it all. The whole point of this article is to get you all to think about how far you push yourselves and get you to realize how important it is to listen to yourself. Whether it’s listening to your body, speaking up for yourself when something isn’t right, or listening to the intuition we all have within ourselves – I urge you all to listen to that voice within yourself that points you in the right direction of a healthy, happy, and well balanced life.