Dear Chronic Illness,

You might be surprised to hear this, but I’m actually quite glad you happened to me. Surprisingly enough, my mental health has improved since you came along. You have tested me beyond words, and at times I’ve felt I’d lost myself to you, but overall – you’ve taught me life lessons I don’t think anyone else could. You have taught me to be a far more understanding person, and the importance of self-determination. There are plenty things about my life before your arrival that I miss. There are plenty things you have stolen from me, things I would like back. But you have also shown me I am stronger than I thought I was. You have shown me what excruciating pain feels like, but also that I can get through it. Even if it doesn't feel much like that at the time.

You may have taken what should have been my “best years”, the “fun years”. Instead you replaced them with “grow the hell up and fight” years. And while I wouldn’t call them enjoyable, they have been important none the less. I’ve missed out on plenty, but I’ve gained an understanding of what is truly important – and I don’t think many 23 year olds can honestly say they understand what that means. I don't resent your arrival, and I don't hate you. To be honest, I'm just a bit bored of you now.

I’ve been fighting back and forth with you every day for years now. It's exhausting, and some days you win. But the next day I continue to get up for the next round. Metaphorically - most of the time I’m doing it from my bed and there’s no “getting up” anywhere. But that’s beside the point. You might think you’re beating me, but to be honest – half the days that you win, I let you. I now recognise when rest days are necessary, and I take them. Days consisting of nothing more than breathing and blinking and waiting for tomorrow. Only sometimes do they make me mad as hell.

You have opened up a world to me filled with the most beautiful and kindhearted people. You have taken several friends from me, but these ones you can’t touch. You brought me to them, and in turn they’ve helped bring me back to myself. You have also made it very clear to me how wonderful the people that stay are. The people I have are more important to me than ever, because of you. My bond with them is stronger, despite your presence.

Maybe if it hadn’t have been for you, I would have gone down a different path and I wouldn’t have the passions I do now. I wouldn’t have the career in mind that I do now. But make no mistake – every day that I get up and study and work towards that goal, that is all me. You’re not taking the credit for that one. You make it difficult, but one way or another, I’ll find a way around you. A different path to most maybe, but the result I will be happy with. Because I know I’ve fought hard as hell to get there. You’ve taken several hobbies from me too, I miss them every day. But I’m hoping I’ll find a way back to them as well. Eventually.

We’ve been through a lot you and me. But I think I’ve learned my lessons.

You can leave now. I’ve got this.

#mecfs #cfs #invisibleillness #chronicpain #chronicfatigue #chronicillness #myalgicencephalomyelitis