Finding My Voice

Finding My Voice

hurricane in heels Kellie McRae

I found out the name of the thing that was torturing me in February 2016. I was told I was suffering from lupus. At that time, I decided that I had received a death sentence. It was torturing me in so many ways. I shared with my mom that I just didn’t know how to process what was happening. And when I was told I could no longer work, my thought was: What do I do now?

At 46, I hadn’t a clue what I should do. My kids had finally left home, the career I’d worked in for almost 20 years was over, and I had no real idea of what was next for me. I asked God the purpose of this disease. Many people ask why ― I never did ― I just wanted to know my purpose.

I lived in a new place, a city where I had no real connections, and lupus can be quite lonely. There are times when you can hardly move, let alone get out to socialize. I started sharing my story on social media. Initially, I planned on keeping my diagnosis to myself. After some serious thought, I used social media as a way to connect with others outside my door.

For years, I have managed to find the silver lining in pretty much every obstacle I’ve come across. Honestly, finding a silver lining in lupus has been a task. Since I’ve decided to be a joy junkie, I never thought about it really helping others. I have been sharing happiness pretty much all my life. Only recently did I realize my voice impacts not just my loved ones, but also perfect strangers, too.

Inside, I once felt that I had no purpose and no hope, and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Now that I’m no longer a mother of small children, no longer gainfully employed, my thoughts have been: What am I to do?

I now accept that I am to use my voice to provide encouragement, not just for me, but also for whoever will listen. Some days, I definitely need to feel encouraged. I have moments of sadness, hopeless feelings, and I wonder why I am still here when all the things we are traditionally accustomed to are no longer a part of my life. I have come to learn that being far from my loved ones, no longer having a traditional job, and feeling like I am no longer needed is a part of my journey. It is what allows me to speak to others who are feeling what I am feeling and we all learn together that we can, and must, carry on.

I know people look at me always smiling, and they think it’s natural. But it’s a fight, a choice I make daily. I pray that I am making a difference and that I am helping not just myself, but others as well. Today, I struggle with finding my joy, but I firmly believe I have indeed found my voice.

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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.

4 comments

  1. Rob O'Sullivan says:

    Hi Kellie, You are making a huge difference even when you think you’re not. You’ve just about described the progression of life for most of us when we question our purpose especially as things that were so important and meaningful to us are no longer or taken away from us. It’s even harder when one suffers an awful disease such as Lupus. I still get comments from people that they were so encouraged by Ingrid my late wife just seeing her, talking with her face to face or on the phone. We can all be a light to each other if we chose no matter what we’re going through on this journey called life. You have chosen correctly and wisely to just be you and to live your life as you are called-to be an encourager even if it’s just with a smile especially when it’s a struggle to smile on the inside. Keep on Kellie….

    • Kellie McRae says:

      Rob thank you so much for your kind words. As you know, some days are tougher than others but I am happy to at least try to infuse some joy in my day as well as others. That’s not always easy either 🙂 I’m glad that when I am feeling a bit down that I have others who are there to let me know I’m on the right path and to keep going. Thank you for being one of those people for me today.

      • Cindy Wilkinson says:

        For me it is a choice to accept my limitations but it’s also a gift from God to have faith when everything else is crashing around you. I’m a joy junkie as well and I encourage you to keep speaking life and not death as well as maintaining awareness of what’s going on with your body. I default to No” now if I need to. As a busy 49 year old mama of 4 ages 8-20, my life is pretty hectic and doesn’t wait for me if I need to rest. However, I know that in order to physically be here I need to pay attention and stop. After 30 years of bizarre symptoms, I go the SLE diagnosis 4 years ago. I encourage you to seek counseling to process grieving the old and fully participate in the new journey. My disease has dramatically progressed but my heart and attitude are much better now.

        • Kellie McRae says:

          Hey Cindy, I love meeting other joy junkies 🙂 I have learned quickly how to say no although I was pretty good at it before but now I have become an expert. I am so grateful that my kids are grown, we hear all the time that God gives us no more than what we can handle, He knew I would be a mess if I had this battle and small kids. I applaud you and others like you. I’m doing pretty good without the counseling but I appreciate the mention because some need that. I have come through a lot in this life of mine (being a Desert Storm Veteran) I have learned a lot of coping techniques and one of them is admitting when you are feeling like you’re a bit lost. It’s the only way to get found. Now I’m a lot more laid back than I was in the States and def take the time to listen to my body. I’m glad to know you are doing the same. Thanks for commenting

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