The Mighty Logo

The Never-Ending Battle of Not Letting Your Illness Define You

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Through blogging, social media, and writing in general, I’ve been able to share my story and use my illness to reach out to others.

But my biggest fear (since I was a kid), is my illness becoming my defining trait.

I fear that I won’t be Megan.
I’ll be “sick Megan.”

I won’t be a good writer.
I’ll be “the sick girl who writes.”

I fear my personality traits and talents will be masked by my illness.

I fear when people look at me, my illness will be the only thing they see.

This fear is honestly why I lied to most people on my life about my illness and kept it hidden for so long.

I didn’t want my illness to be my identity.

But sometimes it is.

Sometimes I proudly proclaim myself as the “sick chick.”
I openly talk about my illness and just how much it truly impacts my life.
I wear my scars as badges of honor.

But then there are times when I’m introduced as the “sick girl,” or told “It’s nice to have a hobby when you’re disabled,” when it comes to my talents.

Or I am proclaimed an “inspiration” by people who truly didn’t like me and made that fact known until I became public about my illness.

These moments make me want to melt into a wall and disappear.

It’s a never-ending battle when something as awful as illness dictates so much of your life.

It’s a battle trying not to let something that controls almost every aspect of your life define you, and become your identity.

The thing is, I am sick — really freaking sick. No wish upon a star is going to change that. And that illness is a huge part of my life. I think about it when I wake up in the morning, and when I go to bed at night. Because it’s always there, making itself known.

But sick isn’t the only thing I am.

I’m a writer, a singer, an aspiring photographer, LDS,and  closet book nerd. I am a unicorn and narwhal enthusiast, animal addict, and a major people person. I’m compassionate, “spazzy,” enthusiastic, optimistic, sarcastic, giving, funny, brave, determined, smart, short tempered, and stubborn.

Being sick has given me what I consider to be some of my best traits.

I never want to hide my illness like I did in the past. I hope to continue to have new opportunities to share my story and be a part of the chronic illness and rare disease communities for the rest of my life.

My illness makes me a better person. But it doesn’t define who I am. If others can’t see that, it’s their loss — not mine.

I am a “sick chick.”
And I’m dang proud to be one.

But that’s just one part of the elaborate, beautiful, complicated quilt which is my life. And I hope I can always remember that.


Originally published: April 3, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home