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A Letter to My Body Fighting an Undiagnosed Condition

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Dear friend,

I am so sorry about everything you are going through. I know I cannot fully understand the daily battles you are fighting and the accommodations you have to make just to get through each day. But I understand you are hurting, and every single day I spend my energy wondering how I can best support you, how I can help you do the jobs you once completed with ease, how I can admire your strength, even when you don’t look strong. It’s so hard to see you hurting so much, when you used to go through your life in long, confident strides, with assurance that you could overcome any obstacle set in your way. Now I see how timidly you take each step, the thoughts written on your face of “how,” the self-doubt. I see your dexterous hands meekly holding your opposite elbows, trying to cradle the pain away. I see your strength in all the struggles. You are working harder to walk across the room than you did when we went hiking all last summer. You’re working so hard, and you’re seen.

photo of a woman looking at herself in a mirror

You are a friend I will always love, and a friend who, in the past few months, I have been struggling to understand. That happens with friendships – sometimes they get out of sync, especially when they need different things. But you and me, we’re inseparable, and I’m not going anywhere. Your needs are my needs, and while I haven’t figured them all out yet, trust me that I will.

I am so grateful for all you’re doing to stay alive and functional, I really am. But I want you to know that sometimes I feel betrayed by how unpredictable you are. I wish you could keep me in the loop about all that you’re dealing with, so that I could prepare for the changes, and help you in some way. I wish I could know before you have a breakdown, causing us to spend the day in bed, yelling and crying and breathing hard, enduring pain I can’t even understand.

I wish we felt like one again. But right now it’s just not possible. I can’t be defined by your struggles, and at the same time, I care about you so much that I live at the mercy of them. We’re going to figure this out. Thanks for not giving up on me. I would be nothing without you.


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Originally published: May 22, 2017
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