Laura posting.
I wrote this to someone on TDC who was feeling down and thought I’d share it here also, and maybe add to it.

It ‘just happens’ that sometimes, there are times when it all gets you down and you wish things could be different. ‘It’ being having a chronic illness.

I still get it now sometimes. I got it yesterday. My hormones bring it on unfortunately. I seem to be able to cope with things well on the whole until I get a period and then everything is doom, gloom and woe!

But the thing is, most people who grow up having a chronic illness turn out to be nicer people than regular teenagers, many of whom can be shallow and selfish. You are forced to learn strength you never knew you had. You find yourself capable of things you never knew you were. Like coping with hospital visits, or the strength it takes to keep ‘carrying on’ through all the pain and uncertainty illness brings.

I know it’s NOT nice having to do that, but the fact is that being ill, whilst it does bring its hardships, also brings its own blessings that we just wouldn’t have access to without the experience of being ill.

Being ill might make us weak in our bodies but we do become stronger in our minds and hearts because we HAVE to. And that strength is invaluable. Yes, it’s still sad we had to miss out on ‘normal’ stuff. But the depth of character dealing with the losses brings out in us is something truly magical. Just look at Kyli- not to embarrass her or anything, but her youtube channel was an inspiration for me when I was undiagnosed and just learning about POTS- and for a young woman she has an amazingly true and beautiful, kind spirit. I doubt she’d be that way had she had a ‘normal’ teenage life.

Each one of us is beautiful and special in our own way and our lives have meaning- we just have to find the meaning in them when they turn out different than how we expected or wanted. Sometimes we need those times where we feel sad and vent/feel sorry for ourselves to mourn what we are missing out on. It’s only natural. We do have to face losses after all- the loss of who we thought we could be, things we thought we could do, even dreams we might never reach.

But that’s not to say we stop dreaming. I wanted to be a published author, but never found the energy to write a book (yet). Maybe I will one day. Maybe not. But even if not, I’ve found a way to reach out to others with my writing- that’s why I’m here, now, typing this. So there might be dreams we have to admit to ourselves we can’t reach, but we can always modify them. Make them more achievable. As long as we keep dreaming. I always dreamed of going climbing to the top of Machu Picchu. Now, I know I couldn’t and shouldn’t climb up there- but I’m going up there by bus one day soon. So what I am saying is- dreams can be reached, if we just change how we reach them or dare to dream a slightly different dream.

And after those times when we’ve had to mourn the loss of something- an aspect of who we once were, who we wanted to be, or something we wanted to do- we dust ourselves off, pick ourselves up- and get on with being the strong, beautiful people we are.

No matter what an illness takes away from you, it can never take away the fact that you are a beautiful soul with a place in the world that counts, that matters. We all have the tendancy to forget that we matter, especially when we feel inadequate because of the illness we suffer. But no one is inadequate. No matter how weak, tired or ill you feel. You matter- your life matters. You don’t have to do great things. All you have to do is just accept the life you’ve been given and do whatever you can to enjoy it. If you’re bedridden- open your window and listen to the birdsong. Invite others to see you and hear about their troubles and their triumphs; be an advisor, friend and confidant to them. There’s always something you can do to reach out to others, to bring value to your life. You just have to remember that your life IS valuable. No matter how hard it seems at times. No matter how many times you have to fall down and cry. Life is precious. Live it with a full, open heart. Just live.