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Fighting Against the Darkness on Tough Days With Illness

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It’s one of those days. The days I put on leggings and a tunic – not for fashion but because they are the softest clothes I own. Plus the damn weight gain from the medication which makes my clothes fit tighter and tighter as time goes on.

The effort to get out of bed is almost more than I have in me, but I need to work. Medication doesn’t pay for itself.

The feel of the shower is too hot then too cold because my nerve endings are over-stimulated by the flow of the water on my skin.


Get out, get dressed. Skip the foundation for my face because the feel of it on my skin makes my face ache. I put the bare minimum on. A little eye liner and a little mascara. I can feel the weight of the mascara on my lashes causing my lids to feel heavy.

Shoes, oh god, shoes. Flats because the thought of putting socks on my feet would put me over the edge.

Walk to my car. I can do this. Drive the 20 minutes to work but pull over at the park nearby because the thought of walking up the stairs to my office overwhelms me with dread. Thank goodness I’m early enough to take a couple minutes to gather my energy to make the trek that feels like climbing Mt. Everest.

I want to cry, to sob out my despair, my frustration. Why me? I exercised, I eat relatively well. I quit smoking 20 years ago…but now I am struck down. Betrayed by my body.

No, my illness is not a death sentence. It’s not a terminal disease stripping my life from me a day at a time. No, I have a life sentence. One with no chance of parole. I have a disease that few understand, and that until recently, many didn’t even believe was real. Me included. Is that why I got this? Because I believed people were milking it and became frustrated when they made plans and cancelled over and over again? No… I know that isn’t true, but when the darkness and despair creep in on these bad days, I wonder. Why me? Why can’t I do what I used to? Why can’t I walk around the block without the fatigue and weakness and pain that always comes?

The tears come. I probably shouldn’t have even tried to put the makeup on…it’s mostly gone now. I wipe my tears and the mascara from beneath my eyes, take a deep breath and drive the rest of the way to work.

I remind myself why I push to do this. Because I refuse to be a victim. I refuse to let this horrible life sentence defeat me. My body may betray me, but I will not give up. I will fight because to do otherwise, even when the despair and darkness try to consume me, would be to let the darkness win. I am a fighter. I will fight the despair and the depression. I will not let this disease define me or defeat me. I will not let it win.

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Thinkstock photo via RyanKing999.

Originally published: June 21, 2017
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