Learning to Love Yourself Through the Filter of Chronic Illness

Learning to love oneself is hard in general, but add a chronic illness on top of everything and it is even more of a challenge. It has been a long road for me, one that I am still traveling to this day. I have to remind myself to love myself, even when I feel worthless — which is quite often.

I am a beautiful, vibrant, talented, intelligent young woman who has faced a mountain of adversity already in her short life. I often do not feel like I am any of these things, I often feel like the complete opposite. Chronic illness adds a sort of filter over what my “20-something” year old life should look like, making it look tarnished, faded and broken.

I feel like a complete failure more days than not. I get so caught up with what the world can not see me for. The world only sees a mere fraction of the awesome, kick-butt woman I am, and I often forget how much I have already accomplished because I am too focused on that outside world.

I love to learn and to experience new things. But, I am relegated to my house where I can not put many of my talents to use because it is too painful, or exhausting, for me to live out in the world as an active participant. It is in no means that I don’t want to.

Believe me, I would give anything to be a part of society, to be studying new things, to be making a difference. I often forget that I already do make a difference. I make a difference to my family’s life by just being a part of it. I make a small difference to however few people read my poetry by showing them that there are people in the world who are suffering in ways that no one knows much about. That is why I love sharing my experiences through The Mighty. In whatever small way, I know they make a difference to someone, even if that someone is just myself.

I went through a dark time where I didn’t want to live. Not only because of the pain I experience, but because I felt like I wasn’t making a difference, and that my life didn’t matter. I looked in the mirror and truly hated who I was because I wasn’t where I thought I would be at this point in my life. I knew this wasn’t a healthy thing to feel, so I reached out and got the help I needed, and overtime I learned to really appreciate my talents and have learned to actually love myself.

I am a weird, nerdy goofball with a big heart and that, in itself, is something to be proud of. I want whoever reads this to never think less of themselves because they are too busy comparing themselves to other people. Learn to appreciate any and all things you bring to the world.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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