Being diagnosed with lupus has taught me a lot, not only about myself but also about my self-worth. Sometimes I used to find myself a bit disheartened when I thought not just about relationships and love but also friendships, worrying too often that because of my chronic illness I don’t deserve as much as I once did.
Going into new relationships, regardless of whether they’re romantic or platonic, at one point or another the truth about lupus has to come out.
A year ago, I was almost hesitant to tell someone about having an autoimmune disease, as I was scared to see their reaction. But over time, I’ve become increasingly confident and less concerned about what someone else might think about my chronic illness. The thing is that I can’t change the fact that I’ve got lupus; it’s a part of me as much as the color of my skin or my height — and that’s merely the truth.
Over the last 12 months, I’ve also learned about the kinds of people I want to surround myself with.
On basic principle, my life is likely to be an uphill battle. Anything I want I’ll have to work for, and it’s with that in mind that I conclude that I don’t have energy to waste. If someone doesn’t want to be a part of my life because of lupus, that’s absolutely fine, but I also know that they’re definitely not worth my time or energy. And while I’m aware that might come off as arrogant, I won’t be apologizing, as that’s exactly what I believe.
Life with a chronic illness is not easy. And anyone that can push past their perpetual personal adversity and continue to achieve so much deserves better than to be judged on a single facet of who they are.
I am so much more than an illness, and if you can’t see past that small part of me — if that’s all that’s visible to you — there’s no chance you’ll ever see me for everything that I am and can be, which is your loss.
Sometimes I used to really doubt myself. With a list of problems and potential issues as long as my arm, that doubt will continue to grow. How could someone ever want to involve someone as chaotic as me in their life? But over time, I’ve learned to take a step back, to see myself for everything I’ve achieved and strive to achieve in my lifetime. My hurdles are not the same as everyone else’s, but never has that stopped me from jumping over each and every one of them, no matter how many or how high.
When I was first diagnosed with lupus it was almost like this invisible line was placed between those who are sick and anybody else who was “healthy.” Everyone on the other side deserved better than someone like me. But that right there is stigma, and I refuse to accept it.
Having a faulty immune system is not my doing, and it has never been, nor will it be, a deciding factor in what I deserve.
I won’t settle for less merely because of something that was not my fault or my choosing. I will not believe that I’m unworthy because I don’t fit under the umbrella term “healthy.” And I will not be pigeonholed or looked down upon by anyone who doesn’t understand my journey or my struggle.
I’m strong, determined, hardworking, and talented, and lupus didn’t change that. Know your worth and own it!
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.