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When I Question If I'll Ever Know Love Again as Someone With Health Issues

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It is a feeling that keeps me awake at night.

The feeling of not being needed and more importantly, not being loved.

My personality type, INFJ, is rare, beautiful, and complicated. I am an advocate, a nonprofit unicorn as we like to refer to ourselves, and someone who seeks deep connections with those I come across in this life.

But I am complex. I am a rape survivor. I have post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, fibromyalgia, and Raynaud’s disease.

I am a health insurance provider’s worst nightmare. I am why the ACA is so important.

I was 19 when I was raped, which caused my post-traumatic stress disorder. Three months after my wedding, a marriage that quietly ended in divorce last year, I was diagnosed with lupus and my other autoimmune diseases. I have tried to keep pace with my body and mind. I have tried to keep getting back up when I get knocked down. Sometimes I have been accompanied, but most times, I have felt alone.

And I sit here now, 31 years old, wondering when I will receive the love I give to the world.

Advocating for mental health, especially as a rape survivor, is extremely alienating. Many people believe the exact opposite. But when you speak publicly or write, sometimes you need time to retreat. I have had to alter my lifestyle due to taking Methotrexate to treat my lupus; twice a week I curl up in bed early, sometimes vomit a few times before I succumb to the bed spins and get a few hours of sleep. I can’t just go out and have a few beers with friends. I can’t even eat sugar when I want to without paying for it; I eat a strict diet and exercise regularly, something I’m unwilling to sacrifice because doing so keeps my pain levels low. I watched my appearance drastically change the past couple of years as well. I now can only sport a short pixie cut after chopping off hair halfway down my back. It’s going quite gray as well, and I just look tired. I look so tired all of the time.

How could anyone love me when I am so complex?

I think about anyone being around me for a full day. They’d watch me medicate twice. Half of the pills I take are to heal the past. The other are to prevent future damage to my organs. I barely feel like I am existing without worry or concern over my health; I am reminded twice a day what is happening to me.

I can’t imagine my story would fill any future partner with hope; some days, I feel none myself.

But I need to remember that when I feel this way, there must be someone else who feels the same. Who is looking, just like I am, for someone who understands them. Who understands when their anxiety is too much to bear and they just need a day off from the world. Who understands trauma and pain unlike most people can. Who understand what it is like to feel like you keep getting handed lemons and you’re waiting to finally get served lemonade.

I know love is all around me, and I will continue to serve my community and pour love into it, even in times I don’t understand. All I can hope is someone feels as though I deserve that same love, too.

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

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Thinkstock photo by XiXinXing

Originally published: March 26, 2017
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