Just because this is the most incredible journey I have ever had the privilege to undergo. Just because I am learning valuable life and spiritual lessons. Just because I am optimistic. Just because my experience lends me the opportunity to help others. Just because this has ignited a fire of passion and purpose beneath me. Just because all the puzzle pieces are fusing and I am transforming, doesn’t mean I can always evade the cloak of isolation.
I am not immune to the defeating darkness that sometimes consumes me. I am a 19 year old, and I am sitting in bed all day while everyone else goes out and lives their lives. I’m not immune to feeling left out. My weakness and fear of fainting prohibit me from driving my own car. I’m not immune to feeling pathetic because of this. Every time I'm cruising down Neptune Ave on my way home from an appointment, my heart sinks as I catch glimpses from the passenger's side window of Sunday morning life on a beautiful September day. Runners are running, surfers are checking the surf, people are putting on wetsuits, waxing their boards. I wish I could run. I wish I could surf. I still turn my head the other way every time I pass a yoga studio.
It's still hard to distinguish the source of my emotions. Fog hangs low in my clouded mind as I am constantly asking myself if the way I am feeling is stemming from my illness, my mind, or my medication? In tandem, I find myself questioning if my perception is skewed or heightened because of these factors, or if there even is a separation between them? I am not immune to the the tug of war raging in my active mind. I am not immune to the relentless nightmares that torture me into sleeplessness. It is exhausting to constantly fear all that lies beyond consciousness. Or to the icy flames that swaddle me in solitude. Or to the fog of war that leaves me paralyzed with fear, interrupting me from turning the pages of my story, unable to bear more chapters of pain. I am not immune to the sweet talk of defeat that coerces me to surrender. The burden of loss for my old life still weighs heavy on me. The overwhelming physical pain I experience daily still cracks me open and drains me dry. I get frustrated when I want to go outside, but fatigue chains me in bed. I’m not immune to resentment, to the “why me”, to the I deserve more than this. I am not immune to feeling abandoned by most of my friends.
My vulnerable moments have become fewer and farther between, however, I am not immune to the pain they carry. Gratitude, compassion, passion, and purpose can’t always protect you from the dark. Although I accept and surrender to my condition, the darkness still haunts me.
I often get ask how I do it. How do I remain so positive in the face of uncertainty? The reality is, I don’t. I am only human and I am not immune to the full range of feelings that this illness carries. Through months of practice, I am often able to rise above pain and focus on the silver linings, but sometimes I just can’t. And that’s okay. I owe it to myself to feel. It’s unfair to endorse guilt for feeling undesirable feelings. Rather, it is essential to welcome your emotions in, and allow them to wash through you, as they are always temporary. Bad moments are temporary, and my life is made up of more good moments than bad. I tell myself this often.