When I was in my sophomore year of high school I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, after months of being symptomatic. The onset of POTS was sudden. One week I was playing all four quarters of a basketball game, and the next I couldn’t stand for more than a minute without feeling dizzy and nauseous. Because of this, it’s become so easy to think of myself as before-I-got-sick me and after-I-got-sick me. But when I’m feeling down and reminiscing about “the good old days,” I try to keep a few things in mind.
1. I’ve been able to discover more about myself.
Being away from athletic activity, friends, school, and life in general left me with a lot of free time, albeit fatigued. Through this, I’ve been able to discover a love for music and art that has stayed with me, even as I’ve been able to return to some activity.
2. I’m more understanding.
Living with POTS has opened my eyes to the world of illness and disability, and I do my best to reserve judgments for others now as a result. Whereas before I may have raised my eyebrows at someone sitting down in a grocery store or sleeping at a museum, I’ve now become one of those people, and am able to see the world from a new perspective.
3. I’m still me.
Although I’ve gone through a major life change, I’m still the same person. My circumstances have changed, and my viewpoints have been shifted, but at the end of the day I’m not so different than the girl sprinting for a lay-up two years ago.
A chronic illness diagnosis rocked my world, but I won’t let it dictate my life. While some aspects of my life will never be the same, I know I can always count on myself, my thoughts, and my ideas to stay with me, no matter the battle.
Image via Thinkstock.