So much of my life is entangled in my illness. However, I am not my illness. Yet my mood, my body all gets affected on a daily basis. I sometimes feel so down on myself because the simplest of tasks become unforeseeable hurtles. My anxiety gets compounded from my inability to participate. However, I am not my illness.
Your anxiety and depression is also invisible. You feel burdened, heavy, overwhelmed. However, you speak of it. You give it a name. You allow it to visit BUT you do not live in it. It is a moment like many others moments, good or bad. You have inspired me to talk about my Lupus journey. To be open and honest because that is the only way to move forward. You feel as if you may not have earned your place at the university, in the women's swim team. What it means when your collegiate swim career has graduated into adulthood? It all began, when you joined that New Jersey bacteria infested lake swim team. Unfortunately, you contracted weekly eye infections but you wouldn't stop. You found joy. You found a goal. You were nine. I loved watching you race with commitment and fun. Throughout the years, you made many social sacrifices based on your vigorous swim schedule. You chose your colleges based on the D2 women's swim programs. You took this journey with hope, excitement and joy. You began advocating for those that suffer in silence with your mental health advocacy titled the Happiness Project . I know you will be alright. You are seen. You reach out. You speak up. My illness has afforded me the ability to slow down because I can only do what I can do. Occasionally, it is a lot. Usually, it not so much. You are a light. Look fondly on all your decisions that have afforded you these past experiences. Be kind to yourself as you embark on your changing purpose, changing goals but always move forward with joy. You are not alone. You are enough.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” – Madeline L’Engle