When My Illnesses Stole More Than Just My Body

The day I fell ill was the day I surrendered the life I once know to the diseases that plague my body. I accepted that the things and routines that became familiar would not longer be the same. I understood that, or at least I thought I did. I didn’t realize that in surrendering those things I would lose so much. I prepared myself for the loss of my friends and the understanding of others. I prepared myself for the loss of my independence and freedom.

However, I never in a million years could have prepared myself for the loss of my happiness.

I realize now that I’ve built a wall to shut out my emotions because quite frankly, that’s the only way I can get through most days. But then there are the days that the magnitude of that loss is profound, the depression is heavy and dark. The days that I wasn’t consumed by my depression have become far and few; my focus lately has been in getting myself through today and to tomorrow in one piece and nothing more. I suppose that my way of getting through those things was that in the back of my mind, I knew there were things that made me happy when I was apart of that. Tonight I’m sitting here in a pile of tissues and a mess of tears, wondering when I lost those things too.

This year has been a difficult one, I’m not in a position to go to school or to work. My days are spent alone, keeping busy with chores around the house or traveling to and from appointments, procedures, and treatments. The things that I attributed to my success aren’t in the cards for me and I have struggled to see what worth and purpose I have if I can’t do those things. To compensate, I’ve worked tirelessly to understand and identify what is important to me and to connect with those things. For a while the mere thought of my dreams and any taste at them would satisfy me, they would be enough to make me happy but lately it seems like I’m stuck in this perpetual cloud that makes it impossible to enjoy anything. The things that I’ve credited my very existence tom no longer make me happy and that…that is terrifying.

I feel alone, even when I’m in a room full of people.

I feel worthless, even though I’m loved by many.

I feel lost, even when my plans are clear.

I don’t know how I ended up here when I worked so hard to avoid this very situation. I desperately want to be happy, I want to feel anything but this depression and exhaustion. I want to be confident in my purpose and presence. I want to surround myself with the people and things that lift me up. That happiness feels so foreign to me.

I’ve shut myself off from everyone I love, and the world around me because acknowledging the reality that I was living was torture. Feeling like you don’t have a purpose, or place in this life is torture. Maybe I did it in a desperate attempt to protect myself, maybe I did it without even realizing I did it but I’m stuck. I’m stuck in a never ending cycle of grueling, exhausting, consuming depression and I can’t get out. I can’t get out of my own head, the same head that harbors the brain that is convincing me that I don’t deserve happiness.

I find my anxiety building about the things that once used to comfort me. I constantly wrestle with the anxiety that is consistently present; the anxiety that causes me to fear the people and situations that held my sanity. It first started with nerves every time I had the opportunity to do something that makes me happy, or be with someone I love. Those nerves got louder and more powerful to the point where I would panic before I went out, I would think of reasons to cancel or get out of them but was able to push through with the confidence that I would be glad I pushed through. Now, that panic is present every single second of every single day and it’s stolen the joy that I had found in those situations. The second I arrive I count down the time until I leave, my mind is constantly buzzing with excuses and reasons to leave. Just like I did before, I try to convince myself that I will be happy I pushed through but that doesn’t happen anymore.

I feel empty. I feel like this body and this brain aren’t mine anymore.

I wish I had an uplifting way to end this, but I don’t. I look forward to the day that I take back my happiness, and my mind; if it was a matter of choosing happiness, I would have chosen it a long time ago. My only comfort is that there is a season for everything in life and that this too shall pass in time. I know I’m not alone in this battle against myself, I know that I’m not the only one out there who is fighting for control and peace, I know I’m not the only one who is stuck in the dark, I know I’m not the only one and that alone is enough to get me through today.

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