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What 'Doctor Strange' Taught Me About Chronic Illness

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The other night, I was watching “Doctor Strange” with my husband. I found myself feeling so incredibly sad when he first awakes after his accident with the realization that he will never be a surgeon again. I could relate so deeply as Doctor Strange struggled to accept that his accident would leave him forever disabled, unable to return to his beloved career. His career was his identity and his passion, yet his accident would not only keep him from that but from so many other normal parts of his life. He was left confused and frustrated, struggling to return to normal and unable to accept that this was impossible.

Then, I had a realization. It was because of his accident that he ended up finding his destiny. Yes, he lost his original dream, but he never would have become a superhero if he had been able to remain a surgeon. It was because of his accident that he went in search of something, hoping just to get back to his old life. Instead he found something so much better, a new purpose, a new path in life.

I realized, that much like Doctor Strange, I had struggled to accept my condition. Struggled to realize that my illness would forever change my life. Struggled to return to normal, unable to accept that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it is those breaking points that cause us to change our paths. I may not become a superhero, but I believe my chronic illness has a purpose. Some days, I feel that being sick gives me a new appreciation for life. Other days, it shows me how wonderful the people around me are. But mostly, it has widened my perspective of the world.

Ultimately, I don’t know yet where my chronic illness will take me, but I know that every superhero has an origin story, and maybe this is just part of mine.

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Image courtesy of Doctor Strange Facebook

Originally published: February 28, 2017
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