It is my 10 year anniversary of getting sick and at the moment I feel like I am the physical embodiment of the term ‘my nerves are hanging out’. The simple fact that ten years has passed since I got sick is frightening. I tend to live in the moment dealing with one hour at a time because if I think about the reality of it, it scares me. At the moment, I am feeling more of everything, the pain, my emotions, the world, even the air around me hurts my nerve damaged face, stinging like a slap.
Through all the pain and fear, I know that this illness had to happen, I was like a rubber band that was stretched well beyond its limit so it was inevitable that I’d break. If it wasn’t shingles, it would have probably been something far worse. Like a forest fire, it completely wiped the slate clean; friends, plans, job – all gone. Yet in doing so it allowed me to rebuild even if I had to battle with pain and side effects of the drugs to do it. I had the luxury of being able to figure out who the hell I *really* was, without my old life competing. Not only had a turned over a new leaf, my new leaf was a completely different species! I have met great people who are in a similar situation as me, I am slowly accepting my body and I even have an awesome cat who is saving me on a daily basis. See, it’s not all bad!
That doesn’t mean that I don’t look at my contemporaries and feel a stab of sadness or even anger. I see them with their job, house, partner, family and children – everything that I am deprived of and it hurts. Yet I know that there is nothing wrong with feeling like that, I wouldn’t be human if it didn’t affect me! Once again, my small victories seem insignificant and the weight of it all threatens to crush me. This is part of the reason why I do my best to remain quiet and calm to avoid the pain – both emotional and physical.
I am slowing making my peace with it all, an uneasy truce. I mourn for the life that I had and the life that I had planned for as that young 27 year old before the it came tumbling round my ears, but what it boils down to is that you need to live the life you have, and not the one that you had hoped for.