The Journey to Happiness After My Lupus Diagnosis
This morning, I woke to spring sunshine streaming into my living room.
After puttering around the house and watering my veggie garden, I settled in to have breakfast. And it was there, sitting at my kitchen bench, crunching on toast, that I noticed something: I feel happy. But not that same hopeful, semi-forced happiness I have become familiar with over the last four years. I’m not happy because I want myself to be — I just am.
Maybe it’s because of the meditation I did this morning while lying in bed, where I finally managed to still my mind. Or, it could be the sunshine I got yesterday while walking with a friend and picking up litter on the beach. It might be that I’ve finally found my career path in land conservation and bush regeneration. Everything about it feels right, like blocks in a perfect round of Tetris.
There is a high chance it is because I’m lucky enough to wake up next to my best friend every morning. And every afternoon, I come back to a place that feels like home because of him. Or, it could be the culmination of the dozens of other changes I’ve made this year.
Whatever the reason, I’m happy, content, and settled for the first time in a long time — for the first time since I heard the word “lupus.”
This morning, I somehow feel simultaneously at peace and overwhelmed as I come full circle. When I was diagnosed with lupus, I had never known such distress. My descent with lupus was a slow domino effect of hundreds of pieces falling one by one into dark water. In hindsight, I ignored all the telltale signs of my downfall, and before I knew it, I was drowning.
For years, I have searched for that “one thing” that would change my life and return me to happiness. But there was never just one thing. It has been years of recreating, reshaping, and reinventing myself. Years of trying to undo the damage lupus caused.
In 2016, a bomb went off inside me. It has taken me four and a half years to find the pieces and decipher how they fit back together. My journey has been equal parts finding where the pieces go and recognizing which ones don’t fit anymore. There are so many pieces of my old self that no longer have a place in the puzzle. I have had to discard so many pieces along my path to happiness.
My journey toward a life of happiness and light has been a long one. As of today, 1,577 days have elapsed since my diagnosis. I have spent 1,577 days looking at myself in the mirror; 1,577 days of reaffirming that I was on the right track, even when it didn’t feel like it. There were countless moments of hoping the next corner I turned would bring me peace. And for days, weeks, months, and years, it wasn’t.
What advice would I give myself 1,577 days ago? Do what makes you authentically happy, regardless of what anyone else might think. Even when no one gets you, and especially when you are sure it’s right for you. Believe that nothing made for you will pass you by.
Most importantly, remember: You are bigger than this disease. Even when it feels like it’s beaten you down, stand just one more time. You’ve got this!
It’s ironic. I endure my greatest struggles and fight my toughest battles to find peace. For a long time, I didn’t know if it would be worthwhile. But the time came this morning. And sitting at my kitchen bench eating peanut butter toast with the sun on my face and happiness in my heart was worth every darn second.
Have you found it difficult to be happy since your lupus diagnosis? Why or why not? Tell me about your journey toward happiness in the comments below!
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.