In the beginning I just wanted to be believed. I searched high and low for someone to acknowledge I was as sick as I actually was. But nobody knew what to do with me, the girl with some mysterious illness that came and went with the fickleness of the wind. As time passed my life spiraled out of my grasp. Normal activities I took for granted quickly became impossible to accomplish. My social life took the first hit. When the ability to make it to work every day wasn't present, Friday night happy hour became far less relevant. But along with this shift in my activity level went the precious friendships I held so dear. The souls who made those few meaningless hours at a bar the brightest spot in my stressful day. Looking back on this time in my life makes me realize I sat on the sidelines and waved goodbye to the life I once believed would always be mine.
After a while I needed to be believed. I couldn't cook, do laundry, clean my house, walk my dog or go to work. It didn't take long for my spiral out of control to graduate to a world-class cyclone. As my climb up the corporate ladder morphed into a horrible backslide, I thought the world was reaching its end. Medicine offered no answers as to what was wrong with me, but something so seriously was. The few relationships I had left eroded into a toxic sludge of confusion and misunderstanding. Looking back on this time in my life reveals a woman breaking under the weight of the crucible, the point of no return, the death of my former existence.
Now I couldn't care less who believes what about me. After nine years with a chronic, invisible, unprovable illness, it's a luxury I can't afford. Any hope for compassion or a pardon from the expectations of normalcy smack me around with such regularity I've given up the expectation. My life is small, my feelings hostile, my anger profound. But sitting deep inside this churning dissatisfaction is a perfect knowledge. I'm a survivor! I will rebuild! I am fashioning a life I never could have conceived of, back when I was a woman who wanted to be believed, who thought sick only happened to the dead or the healed, who had no idea how strong she actually was.
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