Chronic Illness Made Me Do It
October 3, 2016 | Posted in: Chronic Life
The list of words I never wished to utter is surprisingly long.
“The pain is unbearable.”
“I would honestly rather die than live another day like this.”
“I don’t understand. What did I do wrong?”
“I need more from you.”
“I think I might be losing my mind.”
“I cannot offer that to you.”
“I don’t have that to give.”
And yet, in the last six years, I have said each of these things. Chronic illness made me do it.
I have pushed people to the very end of themselves as they endeavored to care for me and then said it wasn’t enough. I needed more. I needed them to not only carry my load physically but meet me in my emotional pit as well. I have pushed myself to the very end of myself, to the end of my own strength and perseverance and then demanded I find more. Chronic illness made me do it.
I have been more honest with myself, with others than any other time in my life. When before I would have pushed, pretended to have enough to give them, in these years I have simply faced the cold hard truth of the matter, “I don’t have that to offer you.” Chronic illness made me do it.
I have rested more, been still more. I have made myself a priority because it was the only way through. When before I would have overcommitted, striving to please, in this season I have said those two words I hate: “I can’t.” Chronic illness made me do it.
I have wrestled deeply with the “truths” I held about myself deep within and uprooted the lies found there. For the first time in my life, I have valued myself for who I am, not what I can or cannot do. Chronic illness made me do it.
I have fought for my voice to be heard, for my pain to matter. I have seen others and their pain with new eyes. I have found new compassion for the isolated, the overlooked, the abandoned, and the invisible. Chronic illness made me do it.
I have learned to trust my instincts; my body’s urging something is wrong. I have learned to be my own best advocate. Chronic illness made me do it.
I have pushed farther than I ever thought I could. Withstood more pain, misery, and hopelessness than I thought my lifetime would contain. Chronic illness made me do it.
I have learned to treasure every alert moment. Every second of pain-free bliss or distracted conversation has become a gift. Chronic illness made me do it.
I have seen my body with new eyes. It’s ability to fight, to press on, to hurl itself onward in spite of any obstacle no longer goes unnoticed. I no longer take my body, my health for granted. Chronic illness made me do it.
I changed. I grew. I learned. I loved more deeply.
Chronic illness made me do it.