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Your Story Matters When You Live With Chronic Illness

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There is a battle in my life between being wary of judgment and the desire to be my authentic self. My true authentic self, sharing all my stories the funny and the awkward, my stories all circle back to the fact that my life the last nearly nine years has revolved around my illness, hospitals, doctors, a world that is foreign to people. To many people it is the weird, the unusual and certainly not very appealing world that is my life. The instant fear of rejection when I start to shed light on my authentic self, knowing it’s a world so unknown and misunderstood. Fighting to find balance, normalcy.

What do I share? How much do I share? How much do I hide? Why do I have to go through this with every new person? Why does it have to be something that is not normalized and why is it something that can either make people feel bad for you or make people completely turned off and not give you a chance. Unless someone can relate to some degree, I find its an uncomfortable slow rejection that leaves me wishing I had a foolproof handbook on how to disclose that I am not a perfectly “normal” 24-year-old women.

It used to make me sad and even though I am comfortable and confident in myself, I turn into an awkward, nervous, second guessing person when I start talking to someone new. Lately I just get mad; why is the world so judgmental when no one is quote on quote normal? Why do we meet people online and leave all the room in the world for judgment and ridicule, all while putting fire on the flames of wanting to be accepted, wanting to find someone to be cool with who we are. Why do we play this game? Who thought this game was fun, because here I am to say I am over this game. I want to meet people who want to actually meet people to get to know their authentic selves, I want to know your true story…

My true story: I never even thought about the idea of dating until I was around 18 years old, and even then the main “man” in my life was my chronic illness. The age of 15 marked the start of my medical journey; I grew into an adult within the walls of hospitals and doctors offices. I grew up fast as I learned that the only person that could speak my truth, to advocate for myself was me. I learned that I would have to fight to be heard, to find a doctor that would simply just listen to my story, which eventually lead me driving across the county to find the doctor who changed my life forever. The strength I have today is because I have to put a brave face on as I endured tests that were/are far from a pleasant experience. I have a big heart and I am a really understanding person, all thanks to what I have been through. With all my heart I am proud of who I am, and I am proud of my story.

I love that every person I meet in life has a story, each story teaching me something and each story being the map to who a person is. Judgment is not in my vocabulary, as humans we need to learn kindness and forget judgment. We all have a story, we all have faults but we all have feelings, and we need to start remembering that everyone’s story deserves be heard in all their authentic self. Find love in authenticity despite the fear of judgment.

Image via contributor

Originally published: December 7, 2021
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