There’s something weird that happens to your sense of self when you’ve been sick for a long time. All the words I would choose to describe myself seem to have changed. I know that this illness is not me, but it’s been with me for so long that it’s all I see when I look at myself. It’s not a temporary state of being any longer, it’s who I am; I am ill.
It takes all my energy, it takes my time, my health, my personality. I am not available to be myself, because I am ill. It changes my eating habits, my sleeping habits, my posture, the sound of my voice. I am no longer creative, or organized, or confident, because I am ill. I am weak, and tired, and in constant pain.
Illness has a way of making you forget to be yourself. It hurts too much to do the things I would habitually do. I move slower than I used to, assessing each motion, conserving my energy. My new physical limitations trick my brain into thinking that these boundaries are normal. The things I used to enjoy are unbearable now. I can’t go out, and I don’t have the capacity for any leisure activity.
Illness changes how I think of myself. The pain has a way of making me forget, distracting me from my own thoughts. It’s a struggle to cook and clean for myself. I can’t remember how it was before. I can’t remember the last time I experienced joy, and it’s difficult to predict if I ever will again.
Illness prevents me from being optimistic about it. I am hardly a person, I am ill, and I’m just trying to get through the day.