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To the Teachers Who Doubted Me Because of My Illness

To the teachers of my high school career, as well as those to come:

No, I’m not faking this in hopes for attention. No, I am not exaggerating in order to get out of coming to school. My illness may be invisible, but it is very, very real.

Yes, I desperately want to be in your class every day. Yes, I wish with all my heart that I could complete all the work you assign in the time frame you want. But that is not always possible.

No, I do not want you to think of me as “the kid who is sick.” I want to be treated the same as all your other students, in addition to being treated with empathy. That is something all your students deserve regardless if they are in a position similar to mine.

Yes, it deeply hurts me when I can tell you do not want to put in extra time to work with me. On bad days, I have to put in twice the effort, and to see you put in half makes me feel like I am not worth your time or effort. I am not a lost cause.

No, when I am not in school I am not watching TV and relaxing. While I might be on the couch, chances are my symptoms are either past the point of tolerable or I am attempting to do work for your class, regardless of how much my vision blurs or how much me hand shakes as I try to write.

Yes, it is a mistake to underestimate me. The inner strength I’ve gained through this journey is what I am most proud of. I am resilient. If I tell you I can do something, believe me. I am trying harder than you know.

No, I do not expect you to understand what I’m going through. However, I ask you to be sensitive to my situation. I know you want me to catch up and be in class, but remember that I want that even more than you do.

Yes, I got into my dream university despite the challenges I’ve faced. To my teachers who doubted my abilities and my integrity, I hope that I will serve as an example to you not to think less of students with invisible illness. Our strength is our superpower.

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Thinkstock photo by Mariemlulu