I am the person who once lived an active life. I exercised, I played sports, I spent time outside. I worked long hours and still managed to spend lots of times with friends. I didn’t have to prioritize much because I had the energy to do anything. Now I am the person who mostly stays home. I only have the energy to go out every once in a while. I can’t exercise for very long or very hard. I no longer play sports because they are too high impact. I have to decided what my top priorities are and every thing else just doesn’t happen. I don’t have the energy to do everything anymore.
I am the person who once had it all together. I had the clothes, the hair, and the makeup. I wouldn’t think about showing my face in public without looking presentable. Now I am the person who always looks tired or stressed. I no longer have the dexterity to straighten my hair, so it’s usually out of control. Minimal makeup only happens on good days, and my clothes are chosen for comfort instead of looks. Instead of nice work clothes, you will probably see me in yoga pants and a t-shirt.
I am the person who once had lofty goals and ambitions. I was going to take on the world and make my mark on it. I was going to do amazing things and go amazing places. Now I am the person whose goals focus around my health. If I can exercise this week, than I’ve met my goal. If I am feeling well enough to make all my commitments, then I’ve met my goal. If I can help one person through a blog post that I’ve written, I’ve met my goal. I look at small things instead of big ones because the big things are beyond my reach.
I am the person who used to be smart. I had good grades in school and I went to a good college. I wrote thoughtful papers that my professors loved. Now I am the person who can’t remember words. Words that I have known my entire life have suddenly slipped from my grasp, and I find I can’t finish sentences anymore. I lose track of conversations right in the middle of them. I can’t remember things even when I’ve been told several times. I look like an idiot.
I am the person who once had a spotless and completely organized house. I loved organization and cleanliness. Now I am the person who has had to let go of perfection because I don’t have the energy anymore. I’m able to clean enough that the house is usually presentable (the visible to the public parts anyway) but that is it. I’m constantly running behind and I feel like I can never catch up.
I am the person who didn’t used to write for enrichment because I was too busy. Now I am the person who wakes up in the middle of the night with ideas for a blog post. Now I am the person who loves to read the inspired words of others about illness. Now I am the person who enjoys talking to other people with my experiences.
I am the person who once didn’t have a lot of compassion for other people suffering. I thought people with chronic illness just needed to try harder. I didn’t consider other people’s pain. Now I am the person who thinks about others more often. Now I am the person who understands when someone is struggling. Now I am a person who is willing to listen and to love. Now I am the person who has compassion.