As the executing pain currently residing in my right hand is keeping me awake for what feels like the 356th night in a row my mind can’t help but wonder – what would have happened/where would I be, right now – if I was never ill.
They say that adversity allows us to understand the true sense of a person’s power. To measure their ability to stand up straight, face their fears and overcome their obstacles – and that we should embrace our hardship and account them as a learning curve and shaping course of who we are and who we become. But I just want to call BS on this supposed life lesson for a little bit, just humour me, okay? Because just for a moment, even just a false one such as this – I would like to know, just how it would feel to not be in a constant state of pain; of anger and hurt and worry.
Illness is a bastard. There is no sugarcoating this one I’m afraid. It’s something, that, unfortunately, will affect us all at one point in our lives – whether that is first hand (pun currently intended), or to those, we love the most. But for some of us, we get to experience more than our fair shares worth, and sometimes, even more than that, and the domino impact of battling these misfortunes can take its toll far beyond the physical. The kind of results, who, in some shape or form has inadvertently made me into the person I am today – but also the experiences, like many others, that I could have quite easily done without. Thank you very much.
To understand where I’m coming from and not just read
this post me for some kind of bitter beyond her years kinda gal, you need to know a little bit more about the exact stepping stones that have led me to where I am today. (read: the one who daydreams about being normal in no other sense of the word at 2 am on a Tuesday night)
I’ve spent the worst part of a decade in and out of various hospitals, clinics and trials putting my body through an intense 9 operations in 9 years and residing in a hospital bed for more days than not. The physical ailments have resulted in emotional turmoil and the damage extends to aspects outside of my bodies control, with no signs of stopping. The surgeries have been for a numerous things, not pertinent to this post to discuss intimate details but each one feeling heavier than the last. With each surgery comes the trifecta of days – the getting sick, the being sick, the getting over being sick – ranging from days to weeks, to months. Some returning for a second, or third attempt at knocking me completely off my feet, but, luckily, none ever completely succeeding for more than a few seasons at best.
The irony here being, is that the illness, the surgeries, the doctor’s hands in places no hands should be are not the worst part. The worst, albeit best part, as some would (and like to) say is that while all this is happening – life continues.
Life doesn’t stop, because you, a small-town girl with an obsession for nachos and country music got sick. Life doesn’t stop, because anyone gets sick. Life just does what it does best – it continues.
Now if you are struggling to see my train of thought here, I hope this clears things up.
For those who can, will, continue living out their lives. They go about their days unknowingly and subconsciously moulding their futures, creating memories, saving for a rainy day and meeting the loves of their lives. For those who can’t, will continue living out their lives. They go about their days knowing and very much conscious of the fact that they are unable to manipulate their future that is sitting just one step too far out of reach, missing out on parties, and graduation speeches and challenges that shape them, burning through their last paycheck unsure of when the next one will arrive and never being able to save, or spend or splurge or even to meet the person that could change their lives forever. I would very much like to say I’m being over-dramatic here, but the case in point is, I’m very much telling the truth.
I’m very fortunate that, even though it all, I’ve always been able to find work, and have a support network around me, that has never let me fall too below the line – but I have lost countless jobs due to either the illness itself or the recovery period. I’ve burned through every ounce of savings I accumulate and watch relationships and friendships continually fade away. My confidence disappeared somewhere between the 3rd and 4th operation, my self-esteem quickly followed. My ‘resting bitch face’ hides constant daily pain and my memory is too drug disorientated to even worry about not having any. My mired quotidian FOMO I experience isn’t that of the lavish and extreme, but rather of the mundane – of holding a job down longer than a year, of the ability and opportunity to even think about buying a house and the human right to live a day free from discomfort and uncertainty.
‘But you wouldn’t be you’ I hear you scream internally at your screens as you skim over this post hoping for something a little bit more exciting than midnight fuelled pity party. Which you would be correct in stating – no, I wouldn’t. But what if that person, isn’t the person I was supposed to be all along?
When faced with certain difficulties, we adapt to the best of our ability in shaping a new path for us to walk down. We take what we have been given and we do our best into creating a new life for us to lead. I can never truly know, apart from casual daydreaming what kind of person I would have been if life had handed me a different set of cards – and this post wasn’t and will never be about finding some newfound sense of self that overcoming adversity has given me, but more rather a realistic one. I know that I just have to continue taking each one as it comes and hope I can create a better future, a better me and a better life with what has been handed my way, and just like my own personal twisted fifty shades of story, I’ll always wonder who would I be – if I was never ill.