Today is my birthday. It also marks the anniversary of my life changing.
4 years ago today I was knocked down by an invisible illness that left me debilitated and exhausted. I went from being a driven and productive Construction Engineer to being a shell of the women I was.
It is an illness that changed my life and left me wounded.
I had no idea what was happening to me. I was scared, confused and powerless. I battled against it and it only got worse. I thought I would snap out of it, that it would just go away like the flu. But it never did.
No matter how many doctors I saw, how many tests I had or how hard I tried, my invisible illness stayed with me.
The birthdays that have followed have been bitter.
They’ve been a painful reminder of the life I had and how it was taken away from me. How I’ve struggled to find an answer, a cure, and how I haven’t been able to find my magic pill. They’ve reminded me that I’m wounded.
A wound that I’ve hidden inside me because I couldn’t control it and I couldn’t prove to the world that it existed.
A wound that made me feel broken and insignificant.
A wound that I’ve made deeper as I’ve battled against it.
A wound that I just couldn’t bring myself to feel or talk about because it was too painful. So painful that I built walls around it to protect myself.
As I was walking in the park today I spotted a tree with a huge wound and I was drawn to it.
I peered inside the wound and I was reminded of my wound. The pain and confusion I’ve felt. How I’ve longed for a cure and for the life I had.
It felt like the huge, gaping wound in that tree was the same as the huge wound that was inside me.
I put my hand inside the wounded tree and it felt like it was time to feel my wound. To open up. To let down my walls.
It’s time to really be honest with myself. Time live the life that I do have. Time to accept my wound and my illness; time to accept all of me.
As I left the wounded tree and walked towards home a flurry of wind picked up the leaves that were lying scattered on the ground and blew them towards me.
Instead of shielding myself against the onslaught I faced it head on. I felt my walls being blown away.
Today, on my birthday and the 4th anniversary of my illness, I’ve decided it’s time for change.
It’s time to let down the walls around my wound and accept everything that has happened over the last 4 years.
It’s time to start living with my illness. Living a life full of honesty, not a life full of fear and denial.
It’s time to accept that I’m not going to be able to prove that my invisible illness exists.
It’s time to feel all the pain this illness has brought me. I need to let go of everything it has taken away from me and accept everything it has given me.
So I’m feeling my pain. The pain that is deep within my heart. I’m accepting it.
The good and the bad. The happiness and the sorrow.
I’m feeling it all.
From now on my birthday will be about celebrating change. Most of all, I’ll be celebrating all of me.
With love, Lynda.