I hear this a lot. “You’ve changed”. Absolutely I have. You cannot experience life fully without self evolution. Every life experience leaves a mark.
“You’ve become sensitive”. “You’ve become bitter”. “Your anger goes from 0 to 10 in less than a few seconds”. Yes, these statements are true. My husband describes the change as ” you were a rock, everything bounced off you, now some things sink in”.
There are many different facets to me now. I am human, I am an invisible fighter, and I am an invisible hero. I am a mother. I am a wife, a daughter, and a sibling. I’m a loyal friend with firm beliefs. I speak the truth which is hard for others to hear. I am disabled. I am limited physically. I am exhausted. I am funny and serious. I am silly and immature (most of the time). I am sensitive, I am kind, and I have become a woman that I can be extremely proud of.
I am trying to outlive two auto immune diseases. I am trying to be physically independent for as long as possible. I am trying to continue living my life as “normal” as possible while dealing with fear, anxiety, and anger. Life is no longer the same. It’s not all shits ‘n giggles. I wish it were. With or without an autoimmune disease, life is difficult and full of obstacles. The lighter moments are the medicine needed to keep going. If these lighter moments are few, life can be unbearable and sometimes it is…
I have become more sensitive. I have a child and think differently of the world than I did as a non mother. I am sensitive to all the barriers she will need to overcome and what could harm her. I am sensitive to world issues and how they will affect me personally as well as others. I am now in tune with what negativity does to my soul as well as our society. I am sensitive to what I need to keep living and to keep smiling. I am sensitive. I do not view this as negative.
My psyche has changed. Building a protective wall for issues to bounce off you is a way to keep others at bay. I no longer want that. I want to experience life fully by showing the “real” me.
My “human tentacles” are enhanced. I am no longer concerned about minuscule issues. What others think about me, or what I wear, or what my body looks like, no longer matter. What matters is the person I am, the mother I am, the friend I am, and how I can contribute positively to my community and to society. What matters is that I continue to be in tune with my body and what it needs. My diseases are mine, unfortunately. It isn’t the life gift I would have requested but this is what life has dealt me. So I must continue my life and acknowledge that these diseases are now a part of me. However they do not define me.
Think of an aching and stabbing pain. How irritating is it? Think about how you will cope with it? What does that pain to do your mood? Are you thankful when it goes away ? How do you feel when others don’t understand the pain you’re enduring? Now think about dealing with that pain every single minute of every single day. Well… that’s my life and the life of those that suffer from a chronic illness.
Lupus and RA never go away. The pain lessens or intensifies but is always there. It makes you irritable, angry and bitter. It can make you hate yourself, others and even your life. It causes depression and isolation. You can go through a roller coaster of emotions… experiencing all in just one day.
I put on my fake face for my husband, my daughter, my colleagues, my friends and even for myself. But there are times I cannot fake it and there are times where things cannot just bounce off me… so yes I’ve changed and I will keep doing so for as long as I live. Hopefully for the better…