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Dear Chronic Illness: Carrying Your Burden Has Made Me Stronger

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Dear chronic illness,

You slid your way into my life when I was looking the other way. I didn’t notice for a while, believing I was an average teenage girl.

But then you ran over me and how was I not to see the boulder I had acquired on my shoulders, the weight I had to carry around and your shadow looming over me?


You knocked me off my feet and knocked my dreams down as well, and as I rushed to pick them up you tried to stop me, but I was faster than you.

It’s hard, having you there all the time. I don’t know when you’ll bring me down next, or what little success I’ll have that you’ll ruin.

You like to surprise me, hitting me when I don’t expect it. Maybe you think it’s funny, or a favor to me, but what do you know about what I want?

It’s strange, carrying you around. You seem so big and frustrating to me, but I look around at ignorant faces and they are oblivious – you are visible only to me.

But I am learning. I am learning to walk again, and one day I will run. I am learning to do everything I used to do and more, despite your ongoing presence.

I don’t expect you to ever leave, but that’s OK. I know now how to live with you.

I don’t expect you to understand, but how can you, when all you know is limiting and confining me?

Carrying you around though, I am stronger now because of you.

Carrying you around, it’s not as hard as it used to be.

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Thinkstock photo via CreativaImages.

Originally published: July 18, 2017
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