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To the Person Whose Life Isn't Taking the Expected Path

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As a senior, my high school years are coming to an end. I’m in the midst of anxiously awaiting college acceptance letters, my peers and classmates are going on a senior trip, prom is coming up, graduation will be here before I know it, every day somebody new commits to a school, and so much more. It is overwhelming and exciting to say the least, although I’d be lying if I said there were not times of anger and frustration as well. Senior year, along with other times of your life, is supposed to be full of fun, and everybody seems to follow a similar path. Mine was different, due to my diagnoses of complex regional pain syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, anxiety, depression and much more. The path I followed would differ from the one I expected, and it took me a long time to come to terms with this.

Never in my life have I wanted to be just like everyone else more than I do now. I want to be committed to a school, on the search for a roommate and looking forward to that stereotypical college experience. Instead, I’m finding out how I can attend college, meeting with disability services, and I’ll be commuting. I grew up looking at the “big girls” thinking about how I wanted to be just like them. I couldn’t wait for certain times in my life.

Well, life doesn’t always go as planned, and us spoonies can be all too familiar with this. I’m currently homebound because I can’t make it to school. Some of my peers may call me lucky, but little do they know I say a prayer every night to be able to go to school every day and live my life like other teenagers. This goes for many other things as well — attending college, going on the senior trip, spending time with friends and family, supporting family, working, etc.

woman sitting on grass looking at ocean

Although I may have been disappointed when my life fell off the beaten path, I have learned to look at it from a very different perspective. I will be creating my very own unique path. This does not mean my path is any less in value than anybody else’s. More often than not, we may view “different” as bad. I have decided that “different” can be a blessing. I was given this life, and I believe God has a plan for me. Maybe right now I don’t know why my life is turning out like this, but deep down I know this path will lead me to something that will make the path I took worth it.

No matter if you’re a senior in high school, working to support your family, or whatever the situation may be, just because this isn’t what you imagined and had in mind, please don’t knock it. At the same time, don’t allow yourself to view yourself as a failure. Just because you may need some accommodations and can’t do something the same way as others doesn’t make you a failure. You are the farthest from a failure. You can’t do anything to change the life you were given to live, but you can absolutely change how you view it. Stop viewing the accommodations you need and different lifestyle as a negative. You are strong enough to keep fighting, and that strength inside of you to keep pushing on no matter what life throws in your direction is something that I personally would like to commend you for.

“Different” is OK, and being on your own path of life is OK. You may not be doing things the stereotypical way, but it makes you no less than everyone else. Maybe there are some things you have to miss out on every now and then, but with accepting your illness, you must accept that you may have to give some things up. Stop frowning upon what is out of your control; instead, recognize all you have accomplished and been through. You are one hell of a person, and whatever path you take there will be something that makes everything all worth it in the end.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s the hardest thing you deal with as someone with a chronic illness, and how do you face this? What advice and words of support would you offer someone facing the same thing? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: March 7, 2016
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