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Why I Don't Want to 'Return' My Chronically Ill Body

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Ironically, despite being chronically ill, I am eternally grateful for my body’s resilience.

This point may seem counter-intuitive. Why would I be grateful for the body that is essentially not “serving its purpose,” that is “not keeping me healthy,” and causing me so much pain? I see it all over Instagram and Facebook where people want a different body, a different immune system or to “return their faulty body.” But here is another angle. What my body is doing is keeping me alive, keeping me breathing, resiliently fighting hour after hour, day after day, week after week, trying to help me recover from the Borrelia bacteria that painfully invaded every possible part of my body four years ago.

Just when I think I can’t fight another second and just want to close my eyes and never wake up, I keep fighting. I pick myself back up and try again. My body is resilient, it keeps breathing and encouraging me not to give up. That it is not my time to go.

I have such respect for my body and what it goes through and how it still supports me. There are times I curse the universe, questioning why me, why this burden, crying over all the years of my life I’ve missed and effectively putting my life on hold, dreaming about all I used to do and took for granted, merely surviving -not living. There are times I have wished I could return my body as it is “defective.” But there is a reason. So, I am learning to respect my body for the endless and relentless battles it has gone through, being hit down time and time again.

Being bed-bound for two months left me thinking it was the end and wishing I could close my eyes and go to a land of no pain, no insomnia and no relentless exhausting symptoms. But somehow now I look back on that as a distance memory, I’m up and walking again. My body is still fighting against all odds despite the horrific bacteria that has invaded it. So yes, I could be angry and hate my body and view it as a failure, but instead I try to remember to be so grateful for a body that hasn’t given up on me – even though I have given up on it many a time.

Mentally and physically my body is still fighting for me. So, I am learning to be kinder and more self-compassionate to myself and my body for all that it is going through. It is not an easy task but cultivating kindness towards oneself and trying not to focus on all the negatives, as tempting as it is. It can be soul-crushing constantly being in limbo between recovery and relapse but either way I will never stop fighting.

I’m still here, and there is a reason for that.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

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Originally published: July 31, 2017
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