There were times right after my lupus diagnosis when I longed for a relationship that was more than platonic. There were times when I felt I needed someone to hear out my frustrations and wrap their arms around me in a way that was different than a family member or friend would do it.
Looking back on the past year, I can recall some truly terrible moments. Times when I cried not for one reason but for so many that I couldn’t pinpoint what was hurting me the most. Anger, frustration and helplessness ran through me regularly, to the point where they affected me not only mentally, but physically as well, leaving me exhausted.
From where I’m standing now, I’m really glad and really proud I made it on my own. Going through the toughest part of my life alone meant that when I hit rock bottom — and I hit it hard — there was no one to congratulate but myself when I bounced up stronger than ever.
Although I received a never-ending river of support from incredible family members and friends, I know that ultimately I was the maker of my own destiny. And coming back harder, faster and better than ever was my choice, my doing, and mine alone.
Having to rebuild yourself over and over is something few people would understand. It’s not a normal part of life to scrap who you are and start again only days after you already redefined yourself. But that was my reality for months on end after being diagnosed with lupus.
I doubt anyone would have been strong enough to watch me have to change week after week as my illness ripped me apart and left me with a tear-stained face for the umpteenth time. Even if they had been able to stand up to it, I was afraid of another possibility. That after all I had gone through, all those transformations, I wouldn’t be the same person they loved.
When I reflect on the past 10 months, I know I am more confident and more certain than ever of who I am. I ran through walls and broke down barriers. I cried and sobbed, smiled, laughed and owned every emotion that came my way. I made peace with my demons, and learned to be content with my own company and exactly who I am.
It was the hardest period of my life, but I made it. It taught me that no matter what the hurricane, tsunami or earthquake that rocks me, I’ve done it once and can do it again.
It sounds like madness to say I’m glad I went to war all by myself, but I am. Lupus shook me to the core. It beat me whenever and however it could. It tried to snuff out my spirit. But, being stronger, I refused to let it.
I’m proud of the person I’ve become, and I know I can do absolutely anything.
How do I know? I walked through hell with nothing but my shadow as company. And I made it out the other side stronger, and with a smile on my face.
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.