We're all given challenges in this life. Some are more visible from the outside looking in and some are more easily hidden.
It's second nature for us to compare our struggles to the journeys of all those around us, and even to those we only know through little picture boxes on our smart phones. We begin to belittle their experiences based only on what they choose to let us see, or when we find someone who's seemingly worse off, we begin to belittle our own.
Some people have this one life-altering moment where their whole world changes. They're faced with a challenge that instantly changes who they are or what their life will be. Sometimes, I wonder if that would have been easier. You know, rip the bandaid off all at once so you can have that one moment of instant clarity? But then again, I imagine that one moment would suddenly leave your whole world spinning while slowing shattering into pieces all around you.
My story has been written over a decade of health struggles, miscarriages, and feeling completley broken; mostly living in limbo with only specs of answers here and there. A story with so many life-changing moments, so many questions and unknowns, so many procedures and surgeries, so many little pieces of me that were gradually chipped away until one day, I looked in the mirror and no longer recognized the woman looking back.
I can't tell you how many times I have felt like a burden, wondering if my family, friends, and children would be better off without me. Or, how many times I have broken down and wondered, 'Why me? What did I do to deserve this life, why do my loved ones have to watch with helping desperation and suffer along with me?'
Wow! Depressing, isn't it? It's hard to admit the depths of my despair when I'm living in the dark moments. I'm cringing as I type this. I can't believe those kind of thoughts still find a way to creep in. No matter how strong I think I am, that sorrow for the things I'll never have and the guilt for all those things I cannot do as a wife and mother, still find their way in and invade my brain. It takes everything inside of me to break through those unrealistic walls and regain my sanity, to crawl out of that negative hole I put myself inside of when I go to that mental dark place.
This kind of thinking is absolutely normal and in every way completely human. It's scary how easy it is for us to feel so weighted down and unworthy and how quickly that guilt takes over because we don't fit the "norm".
I know I am just one small and simple voice in a sea of powerful voices emerging from remarkable human beings. But, no matter how small, I want to use my voice to tell you that however unworthy you start to feel and however real that guilt becomes, it's not reality. It's YOUR reality, the one you've conjured up inside your own mind. But, it's not real life for everyone else living in the world around you.
You are not being punished. We all have our issues and they are not meant to be compared or disregarded.
You and your struggles are not a burden and no one in this world would be better off without you, no matter how much care you require. Your loved ones suffer along with you because they love you, they want to be there for you, and they would most likely do anything they could to take your physical and mental ailments away.
You may feel like you're fighting a secret battle all alone. But, you're not. There are so many of us lurking in the shadows, silently suffering, and waiting to find anyone in this world we can relate to.
All of us as mothers who've lost a child, we grieve with you in the loss of yours. We feel your heartbreak when you question why you can't do the one thing our bodies are biologically designed to do.
All of us as chronic illness warriors, we fight this never-ending battle with you. We wake up every single day and choose to keep on fighting. We fight through the pain, we fight through the fatigue, we fight for those we love, we fight to make a difference and raise awareness, we fight for all those quietly suffering in the shadows trying to find their own voice, we fight for you.
You may feel like your story doesn't matter, like it's just one of many and one significantly less challenging than others. But, it DOES matter.
You matter, your story matters, and you are the ONLY one who can tell it. It's in these challenges that we find a special form of compassion, gratitude, and humility. It's in these unique experiences we share that help unite a world full of beautifully diverse people. They give us a place and a purpose in this life, they allow us to feel connected and normal.
You never know who's in your shoes or facing a battle you've already overcome. You never know who needs to hear the words only you can say.
This is the era of social media, the era of endless information at our fingertips. Use it to share your story.