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11 Things I Wish Friends Knew About My Life as a Teenager With Multiple Chronic Illnesses

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I wrote this because it’s so hard for me to be a teenager while having multiple chronic illnesses. Most of my friends don’t understand. They try, but they don’t always understand. I hope anyone who reads this can relate and get a better understanding of what I and many other people go through.

1. I would absolutely love to go to your party, but I can’t guarantee I will feel well enough to go when the time comes.

2. Sometimes my medicines make me feel “high,” but no, I don’t take them to feel that way. I wish more than anything I didn’t have to take these medicines.

The author standing with a walker on a path leading to a residential street

3. Due to my reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome (RSD/CRPS), it does hurt me every time you touch me. But that doesn’t mean I’m weak.

4. I may act like I’m fine, but that doesn’t mean I’m fine.

5. I’m crying and in pain right now, but please don’t give me the deer-in-the-headlights look. I know you want to help, but the best thing you can do for me is hold my hand.

6. I was in a wheelchair for a year and had to be homeschooled. No, it wasn’t “so cool” I didn’t have to go to school. I hated every second of not being able to socialize.

7. I know I say “I’m tired” a lot, because I am tired. I don’t get very much sleep at night because I’m in so much pain.

8. I know that yesterday I was doing OK, and today I’m not. People’s chronic pain can change day to day.

9. You may think I “complain” a lot, but you don’t know how much I don’t tell you. If I open up to you, it’s because I consider you a close friend. Most of the time I say the usual: “I’m OK.”

10. My day-to-day life might be a little more difficult to get through than you’re used to, but please don’t pity me. I am strong, and I fight every day. I’d rather you say “good for you” than “I’m sorry.”

11. I’m in pain all the time, but I am just like you. I still want to experience my teenage years, so please just treat me like you’d treat any other teenager, because that’s what I am. I’m not “that poor girl who’s in pain.” No, I’m Biancha, a 17-year-old girl.

Illustrated image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: August 4, 2016
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