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To the Person Who Thinks I Can’t Be ‘That Sick’ All the Time

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I want you to remember the last time you were sick. It might have been the flu, a common cold, etc… You might have had some warning signs, signs of your sickness before it hit you with a vengeance. You felt miserable, right? Had to call off work, and cancel any of the next several day’s plans and activities. You laid low, rested and took it easy. The symptoms and pain that seemed to take control of your body made you nothing short of miserable. Probably making you feel as if you had just gotten run over by a semi-truck.

Now imagine that you’re still sick. Imagine that you never bounced back from that sickness. You’ve spent every day for the past several months, or the past several years, feeling the same way you did when you were last sick. Can’t imagine it, can you? You think to yourself, that’s no way to live life. You can’t be that sick or that miserable all the time.

But you can. I can. I do. I spend every waking moment being chronically ill. I spend every waking moment with pain. I spend every waking moment fighting against the raging wars inside my body. Every morning when I wake up, I want to go back to bed. (Even when I haven’t left it yet.) I want to go back to sleep, dreaming of waking up healthy. I don’t want to wake up into sickness. That’s a nightmare. I’m supposed to wake up from nightmares, not into them.

So while you bounced back from your illness, while you recovered from being sick… just remember, I didn’t, I haven’t and I never will. Do me a favor and try to take it a little easy on me. Remind yourself, I may look like you, but we’re two uniquely different individuals. Just because you can’t see the sickness taking over my body doesn’t mean it’s not there. Just because you see me in my wheelchair doesn’t mean I’m an “irresponsible teenager just messing around.” Just because you see me taking pills doesn’t give you the right to judge me or make assumptions. When you see me limping, walking extremely slow or struggling to lift my arm above my head, it doesn’t mean I’m lazy. I push through things that would affect others more. I carry on with my everyday struggles that might land someone else in an ER. You see, most people say, “You couldn’t last a mile in my shoes.” I say, you couldn’t last 10 yards in mine.

I’m not telling you these things to brag about what I can do or what you can’t do. That’s not my intention at all. What I am trying to do is show you a glimpse into my life. That just because I’m a “young” girl doesn’t give me a “get out of jail free card” for having chronic illnesses. They don’t discriminate, they don’t give any leniency or breaks, and believe me when I say, they don’t care.

The trials, struggles, mountains, brokenness, all made me who I am today. The person I am today is incredibly stronger than you’ll ever know.

Hospital room with bed and machines
A hospital room
Originally published: January 13, 2016
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