So, you’re back to normal now?
Recently, I’ve been caught in a deluge of this and other assumptive questions about my health struggles. Most people who ask are genuinely concerned about me and ask the question out of care and love. I can’t fault them for it. While it drives me crazy how much people rely on appearance to gauge the physical and emotional health of others, I am truly grateful for the care people have shown me.
Since I started working part time, I have had so many well-meaning people assume that I am better or back to normal. And in the moment, I rarely take the time to explain how I’m genuinely doing. I usually just smile and nod and say something like “I’m not quite back to normal yet”.
So, this blog post is my genuine answer to those who ask if I’m back to normal.
I am not back to normal. And I never will be.
Living with chronic illness has forced me into a new normal and my life will never be the same again.
How I have hated and despised that. I have kicked and screamed and fought for the life I lost. I have spent countless nights crying bitter tears of grief because of how badly I missed my old life… before all the pain, medications, limitations, and loss.
The last three years of my life have been marked by the mystery and frustration of pain. Endless doctor’s appointment’s and tests wore me down, but it was absolutely worth all the time and money. My new normal can now be characterized by acceptance and thriving because I know I did everything I could to find out what was wrong with my body.
I’m starting a new chapter in life where I accept my pain for what it is.
It is hard and it has changed me.
But it is not my death sentence.
There is potential within my pain that I have not been able to see until now. I now understand that even if I live the rest of my days in pain, life is still worth living. How freeing it has been for me to come to this conclusion genuinely within myself. People have been telling me for months that life is still worth living, even in pain. While I appreciate their devotion to that truth, their words fell on deaf ears because they can’t feel my pain. Deciding that life could still be worth living was something I needed to do for myself in my own time.
Some days still feel impossible to handle. I don’t want you to get some picture of my life being sunshine and roses. I am in intense pain daily and there is no cure for it. However, I am finally coming out of a haze where my life was characterized by survival.
Now, I have hope.
With the support of my loved ones and the faithful mercy of my God, I’m ready to accept my limitations, process my pain, and fight for understanding.
I am ready to thrive as a Christian young woman with chronic pain.
This is my new life.
This is my new normal.
This is hope.