I wrote the short essay below about 3 years ago. I remember acutely how it feels to be in this place; it is like a living death in some ways… losing yourself.
2012 was one of the worst years of my life even though I finally had a diagnosis of what was wrong with me. It is the year I went through being bedridden during initial treatment, being unemployed and unable to work, unrelated to illness I was devastated that I had been believing something for 7 years that I thought was from God and ended up being false. My faith for the first time in my life faltered and I stopped talking to Daddy.
How much has changed in 3 years. I am however incredibly grateful because I can look at what God has done in my life and how He has changed me (for the better!). He has truly taught me what rejoicing in trials looks like and that I can live the truth that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He has used me in unexpected ways and brought people into my life that I would not have met if it had not been for my illness. Now that is God.
For those who are still in a place of deep suffering my heart reaches out to. I would be happy to be contacted either through this blog or my Facebook page so that I can do my best to encourage you.
So here is what being a little lost girl felt like:
Little Lost Girl
The Other Toll Of An Auto-Immune Disease
At some point I stopped looking in the mirror; of course not quite literally because I need to do my hair and makeup in the morning, but a long time ago I stopped “seeing”. So it was a bit of a shock when one day I actually did see, and I didn’t recognize myself. I look old, I look sick, I look puffy, I look fat, I look frumpy. Gone is the girl I see in photos from several years ago, and not just physically, because that girl had things she enjoyed doing… people she wanted to spend time with…she had an inner passion for the things she loved, and had so many hopes and dreams….
I look in my closet and there are the clothes that I no longer wear, the digital camera that I have never used, the containers of craft materials that I no longer have an interest in….because life used to be not only about today, but about tomorrow too. Now I struggle to get through just one day at a time, just surviving, there is no energy for anything else, and it is more than physical, my brain is tired too. I used to love crosswords, but sometimes it is too hard to recall the words I know that I know, or to spell words that I know are locked somewhere in my toxic mind. People are too hard to be around, not because I don’t like them, but talking and engaging takes mental energy, and that is easily used up doing my job everyday (thank God He has given me the strength. So when I am quiet and don’t feel like talking, I am more than likely not in a bad mood, and it has nothing to do with you, I am just shut down.
I miss my personality; it is actually hard to recall who I am. I know I used to enjoy so many things, but I am not sure what they all were. I think that I will need to rediscover myself, and see what emerges when the chrysalis of illness falls away.
So, I am writing this not to whine nor for pity, but just to share what chronic illness can do to the core of who you are as a human being. My sister and I talk and share all the time about what we are going through, and how what we are feeling affects us socially and mentally. How each of us wants to tell everyone we see from our friends to people in the grocery store “You don’t understand, this isn’t me, I’m really someone else…”
But thankfully there seems to be hope. Treatment has been rough, and the different medications aren’t fun, but I believe that finally after possibly two decades of having this garbage in my body and not understanding what was wrong with me, there are answers. I have been told by my two doctors and even by friends and acquaintances that next year everything will be different. I want to hope so badly that this will be true, and if it is, I might emerge again, but will I be who I was or a little different? We shall see…