Yesterday, I signed papers for disability accommodations at work.
I am 24, active, hardworking, and optimistic. But at the same time I am depressed, chronically ill, in pain, and hopeless.
I talked myself down from a panic attack as I sat at my desk, looked at the papers, and thought “How did I get here?”
Then after work, I made my usual trip to the wellness center attached to the hospital I go to. As I floated in the warm water pool, using breathing techniques to calm my muscles, it was hard to forget that I was the youngest (by thirty years or so) in that pool.
One physical therapist was helping someone with what looked like an hip replacement, another with shoulder issues. Other people were just walking in the warm water to ease their joints and pains.
We were all there for the same reason. Myself, and all the people twice my age, were their because we were trying to maintain our health, even with all the complications our bodies throw at us.
As I floated in the deep end, staring at the ceiling, I kept thinking of what my life will be like in five years, ten years, or twenty-five years.
See, my life is different than I would have imagined it five years ago.
Yesterday, I realized that.
I would have never guessed that my nightstand would be covered with pill bottles, or that I sit in the shower more than I stand, or that I would sleep for 10+hours a night and still be exhausted.
I would have never guessed that I would have debt from all the doctors visits, blood tests, MRIs, CT scans, and therapy.
Five years ago, I thought all the minor pain, aches, and inconvenient body issues were just temporary or all in my head.
Five years ago I thought I didn't deserve much. I was walking the walk and talking the talk just like everyone around me. I blended in and did what I was supposed to, but not knowing what life really could be like.
My mind was sick but my body was well.
I couldn't see the future and I didn't care about myself at all. I didn't want to be alive. Simple as that.
But I made it to today. Where my mind is well and now my body isn’t.
Yesterday hit me hard as I realized that my life was different than a “normal” 24-year-old. It is different than I imagined in so many ways.
Yesterday, floating and breathing my aches away, I realized that I will never be able to accurately think of what my life may be in the future.
But finally, I know there is a future and I know I will do everything in my power to make it to the future. Mental and chronic illness along for the ride.
But today, I focus on today and making it to tomorrow.