To the Teenager Feeling Isolated By Your Chronic Illness
I don’t know you and I don’t know your story. I don’t know your diagnosis and I don’t know how it affects your life. I’m not going to pretend to know something I don’t know. But what I do know is this: Being a teenager is hard and stressful. Having a chronic illness is also hard and stressful. Being a teenager with chronic illness is hard, stressful and isolating. I know this because I am a teenager with chronic illness.
I know it’s hard and you are incredibly strong. I know you don’t always feel it, but you’re stronger than you think. As your peers are handling high school and some of them a part-time job, you’re handling high school and a full-time job of managing your medical condition, as well as constantly getting an education in your illness and treatment options.
I know you feel alone, but I promise you’re not alone. So many other teens walk the same road every day. Find a support group. Make some friends that understand. Message some advocates. A lot of them can get you connected. You can message me if you want. Being able to vent and let it out to people that actually understand can be huge. You’re not the only one fighting this.
But still, I know you’re probably often the only one in your physical social group dealing with managing a chronic illness, and that’s really hard. I’m not going to lie to you. This isn’t easy. It’s a hard road. But when you feel like no one relates or you feel like an outcast, try to find some friends that at least genuinely care. They won’t completely understand. But having friends that genuinely care about you is important.
Don’t feel badly about not being able to make every event to which you’re invited. You’re juggling a lot right now. Go to the events you’re feeling up to attending. The important people will understand that you have a lot going on. When you can go, make it a point to enjoy every moment of it. You have a lot going on but it’s important to take time to still let loose and be a kid. Don’t let your illness rob all of your fun. Make the most of what you have and enjoy these years as much as possible.
Above all, you’re going to be OK. Life is hard and days are rough. But you’re going to get through this stronger than you can imagine. You can do it. I believe in you.
Lots of love,