By: Megan Wordsworth, IATG Contributor April 8, 2016
From the outside, I might look like a normal college student, but in reality I feel as if I’m barely hanging on. I’ve been struggling with a variety of undiagnosed chronic illnesses for over eight years. I know that I am not the only person struggling with chronic illness, and that’s the very reason I want to raise more awareness to the issue. For most people suffering with any chronic illness or disability, the struggle can’t be seen from the outside, but I assure you it is definitely felt from the inside. Every day is a constant battle. Soon the simple things, like getting out of bed, become victories. Opportunities that most people take for granted seem like a luxury. The illness can begin to take away dreams, friends, family, and, eventually, hope.
My intention for this post is not to write that the illness has won, but to encourage you to continue to fight every day.
Your illness does not define you.
Right now, it might be hard to believe that there’s a reason for your pain and your suffering, but there is! You were made for a special purpose, and you never know when your life will impact or inspire another person. Your disease cannot stop you from living a life with a purpose.
Some of the people who have made the most impact in this world were ones with immense obstacles, but despite the obstacles, they continued to fight. Helen Keller did not let her disabilities stop her from becoming the first deaf -blind individual to obtain a college degree. Selena Gomez has not let her lupus stop her from pursuing her dream to release a number one album and raise awareness on the issue. And, Albert Einstein did not let his dyslexia stop him from discovering the theory of relativity.
I understand that if you struggle from any chronic illness or disability there are days where you feel hopeless. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to grieve in times of pain, but do not let the moment of grieving become a lifetime of depression. More than anything, take care of yourself. Today, no matter what you are struggling with, I encourage you not to let your struggles define you. Keep the faith and keep fighting; you never know who you are inspiring!
What ways do you take care of yourself? What methods do you use to encourage yourself to move forward? Share these with someone who may need them and keep encouraging one another!
Megan is a student in the Honors Communication program at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. She is on a mission to spread positive body awareness. She spends her free time baking delicious gluten free treats and watching reruns of her favorite show, One Tree Hill.
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