Why I Write About My Journey With Dysautonomia
I was only 14 when my journey with chronic illness began. High school is a time of many transitions, and I could never fully process what I was going through. Maybe that was a defense mechanism or maybe my brain literally could not come to terms with what my body had experienced, but either way, I felt a sense of loneliness. My experience with chronic illness was one flooded with physical turmoil, emotional confusion and social implosion. But it was never lost on me that my diagnosis process would have been so much longer and more excruciating had I not known people who had been diagnosed with dysautonomia before me. I sincerely hope that my choice to be vulnerable and to share the not-so-pretty details of my life could help some others come to terms with their own journey.
By the time I reached a diagnosis three years after onset, I largely found myself lacking camaraderie. My high school so strongly valued awareness and community for depression and anxiety, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not create that same structure for people like myself. Writing gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in a community of people who embrace their shared values while still appreciating what makes each of our stories individual.
Before, I was hyper-focused on what my story could do for others. Once I found The Mighty and started writing, I realized how important it was for me, as a human, to have this outlet. Writing forced me to be introspective and reflect on my experiences in ways I was previously terrified to do. I still hope that others find comfort (or whatever else they need) in my story, but the intense thinking I’ve had to do about the last four years has allowed me to present my story more fully, honestly and confidently.
So that’s me, and that’s why I write. I may not know much, but I’m sure my journey is nowhere near over, and I’m going to write until it is.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock photo via Jupiterimages.