There is a veritable tightrope, between acknowledging one’s circumstances and allowing them to define you. Some days I feel like I’ve conquered the world. On the darker days, my internal dialogue says everybody else lives highly productive, satisfying lives, while I sit on the sidelines. I think, ‘No use to pretending- I am my disease.’
The reality is I will live with illness the rest of the my life, should a cure and/or miraculous healing not come my way – Just to be clear, I’m open to both. In the meantime, how do I establish a fulfilled life while graciously absorbing the limitations my diagnosis offers? It occurs to me that my world view has been flawed. I have unconsciously believed successful happy people have no illness and don’t have to make any accommodations in their lives. I’ve believed the press some people put out about themselves, the perfect image. To be truthful, I am guilty of creating a prettied up image of myself to others.
One of the beauties of being in rehab is the realization that everybody there is flawed, deeply so. No pretense, no image protecting, no titles, no occupation, no wealth. Just a group of broken people trying to be better. Do better.
I miss that environment. The honest acceptance buried under the rubble of one another’s lives speaks to the pain we all have. It also reveals ripe soil for hope to grow in. Hope sprouts best in the darkness and then becomes it’s own source of light, shattering the darkness.
My conclusion. I have mental illness, but it does not have me. It will not define me. Cancer, diabetes, arthritis or any number of catastrophic circumstances do not have to hold your future captive and become your definition.
Acknowledge the reality of this very human, temporary life, but let’s live with our eyes and hope uplifted. It’s a fine line to walk, but it can be done.