The Mighty Logo

Dear August, From a Chronically Ill 21-Year-Old Who Isn't Going to School

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Dear August,

Here we are again.
I nearly forgot about your existence.

And then
Your arrival looms over me like a dark cloud.

When back-to-school commercials start infecting the television

And pictures of yellow school busses, and happy healthy children are plastered all over every store.

I know that just days after you arrive everyone’s world will be out of “pause”
And mine still will be.

While the bright-eyed college kids I dream of being enter their dorms, prepared to unleash their potential to the world.

I will continue to enter doctors’ offices.
I will continue to fight a war with my health that may never end.

I will be in the exact same place I was four years ago

Where I felt I literally needed to put my job description on Facebook as “trying not to die.”

Because after you come, August,

People will stare, like I’ve grown a third head.
Like no 21-year-old belongs in a non-college town.

And continually ask me “how school is going.”
And when I smile and say “I’m not in school” they will ask me how work is going.

And I will have to smile, and pretend it doesn’t kill me inside when I say, “Oh, well, I’m currently working through some health issues. And unable to do work or school right now. But I hope that changes!”

And then smile at me with sad eyes because no one truly knows how to respond to that sad truth.

Dear August,

You bring out the worst in me.
You bring out every insecurity.

Because you remind me that the majority of my life is vastly out of my control.

That no matter how badly I want to be in school,

No matter how loudly my heart screams for freedom and independence,

My illnesses are the puppeteer.
Pulling every physical string.

No matter how much I hate it.
They are in charge.
And I have to bend to their will.

And when you come, and everyone moves forward into new possibilities,

While my friends experience romance, careers, schooling, internships, independence, and excitement,

I’ll still be waking the same tightrope.
Where one slip could lead to my demise.

August, you remind me that life isn’t fair.
And never will be.

I hope that one day, things will improve.
And you won’t have this affect on me.

But for now, I’ll just grin and bear your presence.
And hope September comes quickly.


A spoonie

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

Thinkstock photo by sergio_kumer

Originally published: August 5, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home