Finding Your 'Happily Ever After' When Illness Is a Reality, Not a Fairytale

Once upon a time… Every brilliant story starts like this, doesn’t it? Mine, you ask? Mine may start with “once upon a time” but there was a time when I didn’t think it would end with a happily ever after. My name’s Georgia, nickname Bish. I’m a happy-go-lucky kind of gal, I suppose, and I just say it how it is. That’s what we all want, isn’t it? For someone just to say it how it is? So let’s start somewhere…

If you’re reading this you might also be feeling pretty crappy about this whole joint, pain and swelling situation we’ve got going on. Now I simplify it to those three things because in theory, it’s not just those things, but to be frank, who has the time to list all the possible symptoms we have to put up with? I certainly don’t, and I’m sure I have symptoms I haven’t even noticed yet. It’s been 10 years for me. 10 very long but eye-opening years. For some of you it may be much, much longer or even much, much shorter but I tell you what, no matter the length of time you’ve had to put up with this corker of a disease, I praise you my friends for still being here and fighting on for another day.

There’s a lot I can’t do, but my gosh, there’s a lot I can do. I can talk, I can write and I can just about walk (on a good day). That’s enough to be thankful for, right? I do have to be honest with myself though: while others may “have it worse,” I have to accept I am going through something terrible. Though I’m not as alone as I sometimes think I am. There are those angels who are given to us at the most difficult times to remind us we are strong enough to fight whatever is coming.


Do you have an inspiration? I never thought I had one – or at least the ones I thought I had turned out to not be as inspiring as I first thought. Being diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) at 8 years old makes you mature very quickly from thinking cartoons like Tweenies and Spongebob were your inspirations and career goals.

At times I wish I was still in that mindset, you know? Before everything got serious and trips to hospitals resulted in more than just stickers and lollipops. Where the walls on the wards changed from zoos and jungles to chipped paint and bleeping observation machines. The age where you’re oblivious to the reality of what you’re going through before banana-flavored medicine becomes all sorts of drips or injections.

The reality is, though, that we all have to grow up – hence why Peter Pan is only a story. We grow up and this becomes our future, but it doesn’t mean we should stop fighting. Even with these burdens we can write our own ending to the fairytale. Every story can end with a happily ever after – you’ve just got to get there.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via andegro4ka.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

woman at coffee shop

7 Life Lessons My Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Taught Me About Myself

I remember when my mom took me to my first Juvenile Arthritis Conference. I was surrounded by kids like me — only many were in wheelchairs or had walkers and crutches so they could move. That was the day I realized I was one of the “invisible” ones. My pain was all internal. I looked like [...]
young woman looking down

When a Doctor Said I Needed to Choose Which Disease to Treat

For about the millionth time in my life, I wish I were old. I wish I were 70 going through this. Because I’m a fighter, I know I’ll get through it. But if I were 70, I’d have all these memories to look back on while in the hospital. I’d be able to smile at [...]

Mom Responds to Nasty Note Left After Parking in a Handicapped Spot

A routine family outing to Walmart took a sour turn after a nasty note was placed on the dashboard of a mother of two, Nikki Waller’s, car. The note, which reads “Reserved parking (expletive). Did your welfare check come today?” was left by an anonymous passerby who saw Waller park in a handicapped space. Waller, [...]

10 Things I Need My Friends and Family to Know About Life With Multiple Illnesses

On June 30, 2013, my life changed. I woke up with an excruciating pain in my abdomen. I ran to my parents’ bedroom gasping, “I need to go to the hospital!” Before this happened, I had little whispers for a few years prior that indicated maybe something was up with my insides, but those whispers [...]