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Dear Illnesses, You Made Me Into a Different Person. Thank You for That.

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Dear Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Fibromyalgia,

I was a normal 15-year-old when I first met you. I wanted to be a vet, I hated school apart from my art lessons, I wanted to stay out late with my friends and I enjoyed being onstage. You turned all those joys upside down and took them away.

I went from being bright and bubbly to exhausted and withdrawn. I went from being clever to unable to read a book. I went from walking miles to being unable to stand. I went from being a social butterfly to seeing all my friends drift away. I lost all the parts of my life that made me who I was, and it was all because of you.


Despite these things, I’m not angry with you. Why? Because you have made me a stronger person. I know what it is to suffer, so I now appreciate the smallest things in life. I have more compassion toward others who are suffering, and I have made new friends who truly love me for who I am. I have reinvented myself and built a new person from the rubble of my old life. That person is better than I ever could have imagined.

I will always struggle with life, and I may never be as independent as I once had hoped. But life is still worth living, and I thank you for helping me realize that.


For all of March, The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? 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.

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Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness with three main symptoms — widespread pain, chronic fatigue and cognitive trouble. Fibromyalgia is a complicated illness that’s not well understood. In the past, it was mischaracterized as a mental health disorder. Even today, some doctors wave off fibro symptoms as being “all in your head.” This isn’t the case. Read The Mighty’s comprehensive guide to fibromyalgia here. Click here to join our fibro community and connect with people who get it.

Originally published: March 16, 2015
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