The Mighty Logo

Dear Self: I Know You're Grieving Life Before Illness, but Don't Forget to Find Joy

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I know you’re angry. I know it’s unfair that your body is betraying you. I know you miss the life that could have been. The picture your mind etched upon the clouds. But you have joy inside you and love to give and you need to let it live.

Sometimes it’s the little things that can topple down the positivity that was keeping you together. I get it. That final tiny circumstance that makes everything feel like it’s crashing down on you.


But please. I’m begging you. Find a way to work through this grief. Through this fear that has rocked your whole world. It’s so hard. So many people don’t understand. They can’t. They haven’t walked this journey.

But it gets better. If you work at it. You don’t wake up one day, suddenly completely OK with painful limits on life. I wish it were that easy. But it can be done. And it’s worth it. It’s so worth it. Please, if you take just one thing away from this, let it be that you are worth it.

You are worth the time and effort it will take to rebuild your life to fit your struggling body. To adapt your dreams. To fulfill the core of who you are.

I believe in you. I know you can do this. I’m cheering for you. I want you to know this peace. I know you’ve known this peace and this positivity. I know because I remember it well. I feel it slipping away at times and I want it back.

But make no mistake, positivity is not that you see joy at all times. No. It’s important to cry. It’s important to get angry every now and then. It’s essential to feel every emotion if you want to find true positivity. True happiness.

And once you’ve found it once, it becomes easier to work your way through all of these chaotic emotions and find your way back to positivity. Back to joy. Back to truly living your life in the way your soul is begging to be lived.

That’s why you’re angry. You want, no, you need, to truly live. And you feel trapped in this body. This pain. This exhaustion. Drowning in quicksand made out of your own DNA.

That’s why you’re sad. You’re mourning the path you wish you could walk. That finish line now feels like it’s a hundred miles away. And you want to give up. You are so tired. So tired that you can’t see that there’s another way.

But there is! I promise you. Once you work your way out of the sludge you can finally find the patchwork pathway to your heart. Your dreams. Your soul.

See, the thing is, it’s hard to see because you have to build it. You are the architect of your life, and you can design it by your own rules. Your own timeline. Your own preferences. You can identify your roadblocks and crash them down.

You can be who you were meant to be, because you already have that person inside you. But, you can’t find all of who you are if you don’t release one essential part. Happiness. Joy. Optimism. Whatever word you want to use, you can’t move forward if you leave joy behind. So feel your grief. Acknowledge your anger. But don’t forget to feel your joy.

You can do this. I’ve seen you do it before. It’s time to smile again. Time to dream again. Time to dream big.

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

Thinkstock photo via Natalia-flurno.

Originally published: July 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