When Chronic Illness Leaves You Trapped in Your Diagnosis

A woman behind a plastic wall, her head resting on her arms.
A woman behind a plastic wall, her head resting on her arms.

Two years ago I got a bad diagnosis, I was in and out of doctors’ offices more than I could count, I had blood drawn, tests done and I lost track of life around me.

I had specialist’s visits and tried one medication after the other in order to find something that will somewhat make my body function again.

Days went by and my body adjusted to the new life, but my mind didn’t. My mind remained trapped in that day, when I was told that I lost some of my function – that life as I know what will not be the same.

How do you move on? How do you convince your mind that life can still go on?

Being a mother sure makes it even harder because I want to do more with my kids. I want to fit the “mommy image” that is out there in the media and on social platforms.

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But no matter how hard I try, my mind seems to be in hiatus, I can’t shift the gears anymore. Even with the help of therapy, I remain stuck in that moment.

Some people write about their illnesses and say “it doesn’t define you,” but I find it hard to be true, because it does define me in many ways. It defines how I choose my daily activities, it defines how I plan my outings or events.

It’s not just the physical symptoms that I struggle with, but the mental and emotional toll it has on me, which sometimes feels overwhelming.

I try every day to fight, to move forward, pushing my body and mind to new zones. I keep telling myself maybe when I do this, or maybe when I push myself, I won’t feel sick.

Truth is, getting a diagnosis is a major life event. It comes with grief, grieving the person you once were, and it comes with a new set of limits and possibilities. You may even find yourself trying to predict the future.

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Sometimes I feel stuck in the middle. I can’t go back to the person I was before my diagnosis, and I can’t accept the person I am after the diagnosis.

They always tell you that life goes on, and it does. But for someone with a chronic illness, you feel life turned into a huge roulette game. Will this day fall on the black or red? Will I be able to do the things I planned a few days earlier, or will my illness or a side effect of the medication I’m on, hinder everything?

But I choose to fight every day, for my kids and for myself. I choose to use my illness to become a better parent and a better humanbeing, I choose to see the silver lining even if it’s too faint that somedays I can’t see it even under a microscope.

Maybe my illness doesn’t define me, or maybe it does. Maybe I need to change my mindset towards it so I can once and for all get those shackles off my body and mind.

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Getty Image by luna4

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