To My 14-Year-Old Self Diagnosed With Crohn's Disease
My dear heart, I know this year has been hard. I know that all you want to do is get better and get on with your life as before. I know that you are trying so hard to be brave in front of your family and teachers. I understand that you want to take the blame on for this disease, mental health and physical wellbeing.
But my darling, you can’t.
It’s not your fault that you have this disease. You are not being punished for something you did or didn’t do.
I repeat: it is not your fault
It’s OK to be depressed about your situation. To be honest, you should be. Your dreams are larger than life and it breaks your heart that you may never achieve them now. It is not fair – and it is normal to be upset about that.
I’m not here to tell you that you are one of the lucky ones. That you will know all the answers 10 years from now. Or that if you give it your all that you will achieve your dreams. I won’t get your hopes up by making promises of a cure in the future. And I do not blame you for wanting to hide your vulnerability from the world. I certainly will not tell you that this is a blessing or you will know why you have this condition in the future.
What I will tell you is you are not alone. There are people who will come into your life who care about you more than you know. They will love you for who you are and respect you for the grace and patience you embody through the course of your life. Your inner strength will shine through and amaze those who walk with you.
I wish I could say there will be people who understand what you are going through, but that would be a lie. No one will fully know what you are going through but yourself. It can be lonely at times – but I will tell you that you don’t need anyone’s permission to validate what you are going through and who you are. That includes family, friends and medical professionals.
I will say that besides all of this – you are still you. Your current dreams may not come true, but new ones will emerge from the ashes of despair and the fires in your soul. This will give others hope. Your will find purpose in pain and learn discernment in depression. You will have life experiences that many will never have and will develop different strengths than most of your peers. Because of this you are a precious and rare gem forged in the unfairness of life and that will refine you.
Through all your dark days, please do not forget that you matter and your existence impacts the world in a positive way. There will be days when you are overwhelmed and that is OK. It is natural for you to be overwhelmed.
I know that you will use your experiences to reach out and touch the world. And though you did not wish, choose or deserve this life…you will rise and use it to mold yourself into someone better and stronger than before.
You are strong and courageous despite how you feel right now. Especially at night when everything seems to be amplified, those tormenting demons come out to play and internal shadows threaten to extinguish your light. Remember you have angels to fight for you against those demons. Remember that even though you may be sleeping alone in your bed, those who love you dwell in your heart. Remember that the darkness may try to take you light – but it will never succeed.
Remember that in your vulnerability your strength of heart and character shine brighter than you know.
So don’t give up the fight my dear. And know that I love you with all of my heart.
No matter what happens.
No matter what you do.
I love you.
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