When You Feel Ready to Reconnect With Friends After Years of Illness

I feel like I’m “awakening” after over 10 years of illness. Not to say I’m totally well yet, but I am coming alive enough to start being an active part of the world. I have a tugging desire to reconnect with all those who have gone on with their lives, while I’ve been “asleep.” It’s like I want to pick up the phone and call people and laugh about something that happened 15 years ago, which to me is yesterday, because time stood still during these sick years. If I pick up the phone and make that call, my best of friends, my former colleagues, my doctoral cohort, will anyone even remember who I am?

At times I have an intense sadness over all that I’ve lost. At times I wish my own children had been able to grow up with the former me. But then I realize how blessed I’ve really been through these years, to be able to learn all that I have. I’ve been able to sit back and watch and marvel at things that rushed by me before, appreciate humankind and life around me from a raw new perspective. I’ve learned to fully appreciate life, to open up my heart and see love in anyone and everything, to connect with amazing people who are going to change the world – those I never would have otherwise met. I’ve become so much more aware. I am thankful to have transformed into the person I am today. I’m still healing, but I have a new heart and mind.

In a former life, before this illness, as a school principal when ushering so many students into school, I may have missed a sadness, a fear, a need for a personal connection. I may have tried to fit a dear, unique teacher into a box, missed a tear rolling down a cheek of someone turning the other way, made decisions that were influenced by outside forces instead of what I know what was right in my heart. I may not have forgiven the politics of being judged myself. I may have yelled instead of hugged.

We all need to be more kind, more compassionate, more understanding, more grateful, more appreciative, more attentive, more joyous. We need to take better care of ourselves and each other, and to make our decisions based on love, not fear. These are the things I’ve learned in my years of illness.

If I pick up the phone and call the people that I’ve kept so close to my heart, maybe they will remember me, but they won’t recognize me.

Getty Image by Antonio_Diaz

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

Related to Lyme Disease

avril lavigne

Avril Lavigne Gets Real About Going Out When You've Been Stuck Inside Due to Illness

Dealing with a chronic illness often means you can’t go out and do fun things like you used to — a challenge Avril Lavigne understands after her own health battle. Lavigne attended the Race to Erase MS annual gala in Beverly Hills on Friday, making her first red carpet appearance in two years. The singer [...]
A woman looking up at a chalk board with question marks above her head.

If You Are Asking 'How Do You Do It?' When It Comes to My Lyme Disease

It’s been no secret that I’m battling several chronic and autoimmune illnesses. I share a lot of my journey of my battle not only to remission, but my journey in accomplishing my goals in life in the midst of it all. I share my victories, from the really small ones to bigger ones. But I [...]

Why I Struggled With Vulnerability When I First Became Ill

Vulnerability is hard – in speaking with others, in writing about our experiences, and even more so publishing those musings online for all to see and dissect. During college, I relished connecting with others and exchanging stories. I was frequently inspired by others’ struggles, dreams, and ambitions. I loved sharing my history and seeing how [...]
doctor sitting at his desk and talking with a patient

Why Doctor Appointments Can Be Traumatic When You Have a Silent Disease

It has been four years now since I began treating my late stage chronic Lyme disease and co-infections. The journey to that diagnosis was long, trying and time and time again I was shut down by numerous doctors and specialists. In my heart, I knew something was going on. Since I was only 10 when [...]