To the Girl Who Found Herself Again After Chronic Illness

Dear Girl:

You are a brave soul and a warrior whose strength knows no boundaries. I am so glad you found your spirit and drive once again. There have been so many years you have struggled to find your voice because of chronic disease. But, you did it! You now have that empty hole filled and the constant overcast of clouds moving past you just like they should.

The doctors, friends and family all questioned you somewhere along the way. Your suffering in quiet pain and overwhelming fatigue was ignored many times or shrugged off as being a part of your personality, being difficult and lazy. When you heard those terms and read their facial expressions to your life updates, when you heard snide comments about “feeling badly and feeling sorry” for your situation, your heart must have been so annoyed and fed up with feeling like a pity project. You knew you were just as amazing and talented than those who were questioning your humanness.

You strived to be the best you could at that moment, even if it meant admitting defeat or placing a large pause on a project. You accomplished such great memories and true friends along the way. But, I know it wasn’t all internal soul fire and feature film-like perseverance. It was sometimes very lonely.  It sometimes felt like the world was completely turned against you, you felt alone.

I cannot imagine how it must have felt to have friends slowly disappear from your life because you have to cancel plans again. How it must feel to graduate from college and have your friends automatically begin career paths that you no longer were able to participate in because of your systemic disease. You truly did struggle for some time when life became less fun and your future appeared less promising to others.

I am so proud of you for never giving up, no matter how many jobs you held and then had to resign from because the hours were too grueling, stressful or put you in the hospital because your disease decided to flare up again. I never lost faith in you, I knew you would find yourself once again.

The truth of the matter is, chronic illness can turn even those who say they believe in you, against you.  It can make others who cannot handle the constant stress and uncertainty rely on their insecurities to feel stable, which ended up making you feel badly about who you are and what cards life has dealt you. I know you didn’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer” when you had to go to a friend’s wedding, you were absolutely exhausted. Your joints felt like they were on fire and grabbing a second round of food from the table was like climbing a mountain. You felt like you could not stand up straight to dance with your husband because your back muscles were spasming so tightly it pained you to hold yourself up.

The fact of the matter is, you never gave up. You were able to take a look at yourself and those who surrounded you and pull yourself up again. You, my dear, finally realized that it does not truly matter what anyone says about you, because you know you are an amazing friend, a selfless human being and a warrior.

Once again, you are who you are supposed to be. The beautiful, talented and lively being that was being buried beneath the heaping pile of self-doubt, pain, exhaustion and loneliness. There is a simple beauty in someone who has truly accepted their circumstances and who they are, it just took you some time to open the box, put on the T-shirt, and stand proudly.


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Thinkstock Image By: Grandfailure

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