Recently, I’ve gone through a really rough period in my life. I know– you would think that most of my dealing with chronic illness could be considered a “rough period.” I thought I’d gone through enough “rough periods” for a lifetime– that I’d hit rock bottom when I had to leave work and school, when I had to get my feeding tube, when I learned that there would be days I would wake up without the ability to walk. I thought I had passed life’s tests of strength, made it through my crucible. Until the past month, I had no idea what hardship was coming, or how many small comforts I still had.
Then the storm came. I moved from Dugway back to Salt Lake City– a welcome transition. However, a reasonable amount of stress on a healthy body is a stress overload for mine. The whole situation wreaked havoc on my muscles, compromised my motor skills, gave me constant headaches and weakness in my limbs. It also increased my digestive problems, so I ended up at my lowest weight yet, 89 lbs at 5’10”. My body was in constant fight-or-flight and extreme starvation. I didn’t know what to do, or whether I was going to make it. My doctors didn’t have any immediate answers, so I had to resort to my own knowledge and small amounts of self-soothing to make it through the move. Then, I went through a breakup with my boyfriend of three years. I’ve chosen not to make him a central part of this blog, but he was a huge part of my life for a long time, and losing him was confusing and hard.
It felt like my illness had taken everything from me. At this point, I was literally just surviving, not living, not feeling. There was so little left to hang on to.
But I’m still here. I’m still moving, living, growing. I’ve found that I have strength and persistence that I could never have comprehended before life demanded it of me. I’ve learned that I have to find gratitude for the small comforts in my life, because everything we take for granted is never really ours, and it disappears without warning. I now know that I can survive– that I can find strength when everything falls apart. For now, I’m living by my own strength and understanding, and I know that my illness cannot take those from me.