I can’t sleep. I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot lately. But there was also a huge spider crawling next to me in my bed about an hour ago (I woke my dad up to kill it, thanks dad, may said spider RIP, but I’m convinced there’s more of them crawling around) so I really can’t sleep. I told you in my last blog post that I start my senior year in a little over a week, I’m not nervous I’m more excited really but I can’t stop reflecting back on my life. Maybe that’s what happens when you start growing old. (Grandma I know you’re reading this, do you reflect on life often?) (Sorry grandma I didn’t mean to call you old!)
It’s really weird for me to think about high school coming to an end because high school is really the time in which my health declined. I remember being a happy little middle schooler, okay maybe not a happy one because middle school was terrible, (it was full of weird eyeliner and braces) but never then did I ever think I would be who I am. I guess that kind of goes back to what I said in the last blog post about things changing.
Anyways I’m here now, I’ve made it, and I’m only 10 months away from being on my own in the world. My diagnosis has never been terminal, in fact nothing about my illness ever really has, except for my fall. (If you aren’t familiar with my big leap of glory or lack there of I had a cheerleading accident in December of 2012 where I fell 10ft out of a cheerleading stunt and landed head first on a basketball gym floor. Resulting in the beginning of my one sided friendship with POTS.) Somehow though my brain and I are still hanging on. But back to the point nothing about my journey has had a terminal label on it and I spend a lot of time thinking about what impact that has had on me.
I’ve met a lot of people along my journey that are currently/or have gone through situations where their odds haven’t been as promising as mine. It really has affected how I’ve carried on, I’m similar in a sense of the sick kid club but I’m also very different. The goal for many life altering and chronic illnesses is being ‘cured’. I say ‘cured” in ‘ ‘ because even after the thing is gone you are still forever changed from it, in both good and bad ways. POTS doesn’t have a ‘cure’, you can treat it and manage it but there’s not like chemo or radiation where you work to eliminate this thing inside of you that you can clearly see.
With Cancer, or Cystic Fibrosis, or even Lyme Disease there is this ‘thing’ that shows up, there is physical visible evidence of the thing that is attacking the fighter. I struggle with that a lot, because with POTS there is no physical beast inside, of course there is a beast but you can’t see it (hence the reason for the term ‘invisible illness’). This has really messed me up because I’ve always struggled feeling as if I have needed to prove or validate me saying that I am sick. I know that people aren’t trying to beat me down, or prove me wrong, and could care less but I have always felt the need to stand up for myself and prove that I really am sick.
This seems really silly that a 17 year old girl is worrying about proving her right to call in sick days amongst the billion other things there are to worry about (like spiders). Maybe it comes from the fact that for so long I was overlooked and told I was fine. Maybe it comes from the lack of education and resources for rarely diagnosed disorders. Maybe it comes from being told that I was making everything up in my head. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter to me, I just know I’ve spent a lot of my life the last 3 years trying to justify to others why I am the way I am and that’s really not the way it should be.
Like I said I’ve been reflecting on my life a lot lately as senior year approaches and I prepare to be on my own adventure with college, adios madre and padre. I’ve only now begun to realize how much I’ve missed out on because I’ve spent so much time worrying about what others might say or think about me, because of how I do things and manage to live with POTS. I’ve spent too much time trying to prove that I’m a sick kid, rather than just embracing it and not caring what everyone else thought about it.
I hope that whatever you do in life you do without worrying about what others will think of you. I know that’s so much easier said than done, but when you think about it at the end of the day all we are ever doing is wondering about what so and so is thinking about us. Plus I can guarantee that they are probably doing the same worrying about others opinions of themselves as well. Unless they’ve managed to be one of those super awesome people that just lives their life regardless of others input, but even those people still worry too. Look at me I’m even worried about a spider that can’t even talk back to me. We live in a world of worry, but it doesn’t have to be that way.