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Maybe I Didn't Lose Myself to Illness

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My downfall, a blessed curse brought upon my very soul, facing me with the decision of holding on or letting go of the healthy past I’ve longed to return to for going on three years now. In the late sleepless hours of the night I would always daydream about the life I once had before I became chronically ill, before I was confined in a cold hospital room several times a month for an illness the doctors had no name for, before my calendar was marked with numerous appointments every week, and before my happiness was sucked out of me, leaving nothing but a seemingly empty vessel. The cheery girl I grew up to be was gone, lost in the ashes of yesterday’s past. The girl I still pitifully grieve over, praying one day she will return. I even call out to her in desperation, but the only response I ever receive is a silent, dull echo. And then it hits me. Maybe I didn’t lose myself to illness. Instead, perhaps I’ve been finding myself.

I was never lost. Rather, the girl matured into someone I could never even imagine I could become. My losses became gains aiding me to find myself among the crashing waves of chronic and mental illness. I may have lost my health, but I’ve gained insight of the things people take for granted. I may have lost much of my independence, but by doing so I’ve gained so many close relationships which have restored my faith in humanity. I may lost most of my vitality to live life, but the loss has made me appreciative of the times I do have the energy. Among all the losses, I’ve become something so much stronger and wiser than I was years ago.

It wasn’t until last night as I was laying on my sofa, contemplating on what to write about, that I realized I didn’t lose myself because of my medical illnesses. Instead they’ve been shaping me into what I am becoming. For the past few years I was looking for something that was never lost – me. My experiences with chronic and mental illness – whether they be negative or positive experiences – have shaped me into who I am today. I am tired, but I am strong. I am overwhelmed, but I will overcome. I am bendable, but I am unbreakable.

“Like shattered pieces of broken glass made into a beautiful mosaic, she had just begun to find herself upon the pieces of a broken, yet beautiful life.” — Dana Bradberry

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Thinkstock image by Hemera Technologies

Originally published: December 7, 2016
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