Transitioning From Adolescence to Adulthood with a Chronic Illness

No matter how old you are, it is dreadfully difficult to live with one or more chronic illnesses. The hardships we experience are far beyond the boundaries of what a healthy person could even try to understand. From the abundance of medications to the collection of medical specialists, we differ greatly from our healthy peers. As a person nearing the end of her teenage years, I’ve found the transition from adolescence into adulthood to be one of the hardest things to deal with, physically and emotionally, when living with many chronic and mental illnesses.

After becoming chronically ill as a late teen, it felt as though my childhood was ripped from my hands, forcing me into a premature state of adulthood maturity. School was stripped from me and I was forced to do what my friends and peers would not have thought of doing at that age. Instead of participating in senior events or going to parties, my schedule was filled up with doctors appointments and “Netflix and sleep” dates with my bed because I was too sick to go out. The isolation sent me into a state of depression, something no one should have to experience. The life that I once knew was gone, and I was utterly terrified of the future.

I watched my friends walk the field without me, then go off to college. All I could do was sit on the sidelines, forcing a cheerful façade as they described their experiences with the college life and whatnot with pride upon their faces. I was proud of them all, but a pang in my heart told me otherwise. I felt left behind. I was supposed to graduate and start college with them! But unfortunately, my many illnesses shattered and prevented that dream from coming true.

The jump from adolescence to adulthood is scary enough, but throw in an illness here and there and it becomes a churning storm that is very hard to travel through. It feels like being chained to the ground as you watch the peers you grew up with move away to begin living their lives while you’re stuck in place having to relive a nightmare all over again. You feel lost. You feel left behind. You feel like a burden to those around you, because as a young adult, society tells you that you must go to college, get a job and find your own place. I’m here to tell you this — take all the time you need to recover. Your health comes first.

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