Why My Cystic Fibrosis Makes Me Terrified to Let People Love Me


Growing up with a chronic illness you fight many battles. As a child, you are forced to grow up quickly, make difficult decisions, and ultimately at times face your mortality head on and work to prevent it. In the midst of all of this, you grow as a person, you become mature and strong.

It would be naïve of me to say that my cystic fibrosis did not make me the person I am today. I am proud of who I am and whom this disease has made me. I work extremely hard in everything I do, I am confident, I am practical and a realist, I am personable, I am generally well adjusted. However, through all that I have been through and all I have overcome in facing this illness, there is one thing that still in ways terrifies me: love.

I am terrified to let people close enough to love me. This has been something I have been dealing with my whole life. To avoid confusion, I love people. I have an amazing support group of friends and family all of whom I love deeply. However, I was not as open with my friends about the day to day and reality of my cystic fibrosis until these recent years. Yet, there is one anxiety remaining that I have yet to overcome. I have never had a serious significant other because I am terrified to let someone in.

Whenever someone begins to get too close, or too serious, I have pushed him away. The main reason for this is that I am scared of hurting people. As I said earlier, I am a realist to a fault. I understand that my disease is unpredictable. I am optimistic – but unsure of my future.

A girl and her dog.

The thought of leaving behind a significant other has never sat well with me. It is the one thing, the one part of my disease that still affects me and holds me back. It is something I think a lot of people with chronic illness face. I joke about this attitude with my friends as my “typical self-destructive behavior.” But it is just that, self-destructive.

I have never allowed my illness to prevent me experiencing all life has to offer, why should love not be part of that? I have to work every day to remind myself that the people in my life choose to be there and that I am not a burden on them. As a good friend once wrote to me, “Don’t be afraid to love, you deserve it.”

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