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When Chronic Illness Makes You Feel Unworthy

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Nope you read that title right, chances are if you have a chronic illness you can agree and relate the that title immediately. If you’re lucky enough to not know what that could possibly mean, I encourage you to keep reading and to thank your lucky stars.

I won’t speak for everyone with a chronic illness. The story, emotions and expressions are all my own. But if you spend more than 30 seconds in a chronic illness group on Facebook, or browse hashtags on Instagram, you’ll quickly see I’m not alone and the isolation our illnesses can cause are common.

I recently came to the hard realization after spending three weeks unable to play on my phone, write, read or do anything (other than get lost in my thoughts, pray, and do way too much over thinking), when I experienced an episode of optic neuritis in my “good” eye. This left me virtually blind and with every reason to jump straight into that cozy cave of darkness and isolation that I tend to make my home when something like that occurs

I tend to forget that I’m not some emotional badass brick wall made of steel that is exempt from having to face the hard parts, the messy parts, and the sad parts. I forget that crawling into my cozy hole of isolation and dealing with it all alone doesn’t actually “fix” a single thing and definitely doesn’t “save” the people who love me, no matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise. If we are being truly honest, all bullshit, sugar coated little white lies aside, that is the hardest part of the entire journey for me. Feeling like a burden. Feeling like I’m hard to love. Feeling undeserving of that love and believing that it hurts to love me.

You see, I believe God gave me this journey to walk in life. And I’m 100 percent fine with that, because I wholeheartedly trust Him – even when I don’t understand the paths, directions and detours the journey tends to take sometimes. However, the amount of associated guilt, hurt and pain I feel knowing that my family and friends walk this journey right beside me and go through the heartaches right along with me is without a doubt the most horrible, painful feeling one could ever know. So even though the rational part of me knows that choosing to fall into that black hole of isolation hurts them too, it’s way of protecting the ones I love most.

I could not have a better, more supportive, loving, beautiful or perfect group of people surrounding me. They are the reason I’m here, and they save my life everyday without even realizing it. I love each and everyone of them to absolute pieces and would do anything in the world to save them, including from myself. Which is why I tend to push the ones I love and need the most away.

When my illness makes me disappear, turn into a hermit, hide away in a land of darkness, please understand the “whys” behind my actions. My worst fear is y’all realizing one day that I’m not worth the pain that comes with loving me, and you walking away. So please don’t stop calling. Texts are great too, but so easily dismissed and ignored (especially when vision problems arise). Please don’t stop praying for me, praying that I’ll keep the faith as my big brother would say, and praying that I’ll find my way out of the darkness and into the glitter again.

I also want to let you know that I’m OK. Even when I feel unworthy, I know it’s the darkness trying to win and I know even on the hardest days of this season and journey that I’m exactly where I’m suppose to be, and that I’m still who God has called me to be. The ugly, dark, hard parts of this journey are in His plan. Someday I’ll hopefully see the reason why, and be able to give one heck of a testimony from it.

And to the ones I love so dearly, please don’t give up on me. I know I’ve fallen down and lost every speck of glitter and the spark I once cherished and built an entire life around, but know I’m trying, and soon I plan on rising as the whole damn fire. In the mean time thank you for loving me when I definitely don’t deserve it.

“Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” – Ephesians 2:19-22

Originally published: June 19, 2018
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