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To the People Who Think I'm 'Lucky' When I Stay Home From School

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I have been struggling with chronic migraines for nine years now, and some years are worse than others. I’m currently in high school, and even though I’m home from school a lot, I’m doing OK.

However, my first two years of junior high were another story. I had migraines every single day for two years. I still have them almost every day, but they are better and I know how to deal with them now. My migraines were so bad I spent the majority of each 24 hours in a dark room with ice on my forehead.

Occasionally I would go to school, but I only managed two hours at a time, and then it was back to the dark room. I could spend days at a time in my dark room, with nothing but my mind to occupy me. My chronic illness took a toll on me, and it didn’t take long until anxiety, depression and self-harm became part of my baggage too.

Still, every time I showed up for school I was told how lucky I was — lucky I got to stay home and sleep while they were in school. People see what they want to see, and they didn’t see how I cut myself every day and cried myself to sleep, wishing I were dead. They didn’t see that I missed two years of my education, two years of the social life I should have had. They didn’t see that I missed out on birthdays, parties and hanging out with my friends or family. They didn’t see how ashamed I was, how much self-hatred I felt because I believed I had failed my parents on the one thing I was supposed to do. They didn’t see that being so isolated and being in so much pain all the time made me want nothing more than to die. All they saw was how lucky I was because I got to stay home.

So next time you think someone is lucky because they stay home from school or work, think again — because in reality we want nothing more than to live a normal life where we go to school and work like “normal” people, earn our own money and don’t depend on others. All we want is a life where doctor appointments aren’t an everyday thing. A life where we are normal, and not looked upon as fragile beings with a tendency to break. A life where we can actually meet that friend at a café, like we promised we would. A life not spent in pain.

So no, I’m not “lucky.”

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

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: October 21, 2016
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