When You Don't Know Who You Are Anymore After Becoming Sick


Through every stage of life we’re trying to figure out who we are. What is our role in society, how do we fit in, who are we really? What sides of us do we keep to ourselves, show to those closest to us, show to the rest of the world? We are constantly evolving. Jobs change us. People change us. Age changes us. But most of these changes happen gradually enough that we adapt without any thought. What happens though when something comes along and changes everything rapidly? Everything about you needs to accommodate for your new reality.

Since becoming sick, I’ve had to stop working, my social life has changed dramatically and my relationship with my husband has changed. I no longer work out since my energy level has changed dramatically. My months are filled with appointments instead of coffee dates. I sport an IV line on my chest which everyone stares at, I have an accessible parking pass and I have a walker for my really rough days. I’ve made new friends, lost old friends, and grown closer to friends that really stuck by me through all these changes. The list goes on and on, but name something and I can pretty well guarantee it’s changed in one form or another.

I’ve been saying it for the last year and a half, and I’m sure I will be saying it for a while yet, but I miss the old me. I miss my old life. I was full of life, joyful, positive, loud and opinionated. I loved going out and I hated staying in. If I had an afternoon free, I would either be out being social or be working on one of my various projects.

I’m quiet now and much more reserved. It takes a lot of energy to be full of life. I’m not surrounded by people all the time anymore, partly because I’m not working at the moment and partly because going out takes a lot out of me. I find it really difficult to follow conversations now, especially in the evenings when I’m really tired.

How do I go back to being who I used to be? Is it even possible? With my diagnosis and disability has come wisdom and an empathy that has helped me reach out to people. But would I give it up to be the old me again?

I’m sitting here trying to put into words who the new me is and I’m having a hell of a hard time doing that. I think I need an “Under Construction” sign to put on me for the time being. I don’t know who I am right now. I’m still trying to figure out how all of this plays into my new life.

Yes, I am a mom, a Christian, a wife. But I’m talking about more than labels right now. I’m talking about what knits me together. What words others would use when describing me.

Ideally I’d like to eventually piece who I am back together. Some of my old self and some of my new self. The joy and thirst for adventure I had with the wisdom and vulnerability this new life has taught me. I’m still trying to figure it out, and it may take time, but I want people to see the joy and the shine that used to show in my eyes.

Follow this journey on A Gut Feeling.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.