I have written this letter for you.
For the girl that wakes up each and every morning with the bravest of souls as you embark on a day that makes no promises to be easy on you. I’ve written this letter for the girl who lives silently in pain, smiling while surrounded by others, but barely holding on when she is alone. For the girl who burns herself out in an effort to feel normal and provide for the people she loves, and for the girl that resists the temptation to give up on herself even when it seems it is her only option left.
I am sorry. I am sorry that you’ve been given this obstacle, that you carry these weights on your shoulders and that you are forced to feel ways no one should ever have to feel on a daily basis. I know how you feel when you see other people living care-free. I know that you get a knot in your gut when you have plans that you know are going to drain you, push you to your limit and expect more from you than you are able to provide.
I see you. I understand your pain and I want you to know that you are valid and visible. I see that you are tired of fighting and that some days you are close to giving up on yourself. You deserve a life free of pain, heartache and inconsistency. I want you to know that there is so much more to your life than your chronic illness. There are so many things to look forward to, to be happy and eager about, and to inspire you. I want you to see all of these things and so I need you to continue to fight.
There will be people who do not understand, in fact, most people will not understand. There will be times you feel judged, ridiculed or misunderstood by people you know and by people you don’t. These people are blissfully ignorant towards something they couldn’t possibly understand without living with chronic illness themselves, and that is something you will learn to accept with time. I want you to know that others who are silently fighting will admire your strength, your desire to thrive and your will to continue on, despite the way you are feeling.
I admire you and I believe in you.
I want you to know that you are still admirable even when you aren’t feeling strong and inspiring. You are still deserving of a life free of pain, even if you believe deep down that you are at fault for your outcome. You are still an inspiration to me, because I know what it’s like to feel that sense of self-betrayal, loss of oneself and failure. You are allowed to grieve the you that is lost.
I want you to forgive yourself. In time, I want you to see that the mistakes you had made in your past are behind you and don’t require your attention any longer. Choose to forgive yourself and move on. Move on to making better choices, choices that will change your life, make you stronger and healthier and choices that will help you rediscover yourself. Choose yourself, over and over again.
Finally, Thank you. Thank you for being you and accepting the life you have been given. Thank you for taking a chance on yourself and thank you for being a part of a community of people who fight for the chance to feel normal every day, alongside you. We need each other to lean on, to talk to and to understand.
You HAVE a chronic illness, but you are NOT your chronic illness, always remember this. To begin to heal, you must understand that the changes begin with you.
Make your health a priority, make YOU a priority. Everything that has happened in your life has led you to this very moment,
Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism, Victoria Gasparini explores the reality of living with chronic illness through her blog, The Butterfly Effect. Victoria seeks to spread awareness of autoimmunity and writes to inspire chronically ill patients to live wholesome lives beyond their health struggles.