To my friends with chronic illnesses,
We met for one reason; our bodies don’t work the way they should. We’re all fighting different battles but, at some level, we just get each other. We know what it’s like to be confused as to why our bodies are failing us at such a young age. We know what it’s like to be poked and prodded, and have test after test done, sometimes to reveal something awful, and sometimes to reveal absolutely nothing. We know what it’s like to watch our peers grow up while we’re stuck stagnant due to our health. We know what it’s like to miss out on fun things that we should be getting to do. We know what it’s like to feel helpless. We know what it’s like to have far more medical knowledge than we should. We know what it’s like to have an unpredictable future due to the nature of our illnesses. We know what it’s like to have to advocate for ourselves to doctors. We know what it’s like to leave appointments in tears.
There’s a reason why we get along so well. It’s because we’ve felt a particular type of pain that many haven’t felt. Maybe we look at life a little differently since we’ve been sick because now we really have to focus on where we want to spend the little energy we have. We have to focus on who we want to spend that energy on. We celebrate tiny victories that to others would seem laughable; but to us, it’s an accomplishment.
I want you to know that I am proud of you. I am proud of you for waking up every day and fighting the same illnesses that left you so tired the night before. No, you didn’t choose to get sick. Who would? You don’t have to be an inspiration, and you don’t have to be brave. But either way, I am proud. Because none of this is easy, and you’re still here to fight another day. Every day might not be a good day. Some will seem impossible to get through, whether it’s the awful symptoms, the side effects, the isolation, or just the mental anguish that comes with being stuck in a body that you want a refund for. But together we are so much stronger. We will lift each other when one of us falls. We will keep each other company on those nights that our symptoms are keeping us up. We will celebrate all the victories, big or small. From far and wide, and all across the globe with a unique bond, we will love each other through it.
“People like us we’ve gotta stick together, keep your head up nothing lasts forever.”