From A Life Hidden.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the day I became ill. How surreal those words sound, even after three decades spent adjusting to them. My illness now accounts for three quarters of my life: a span of time so vast that it defies comprehension.
When I fell ill as a healthy young girl, thirty hours was the standard upper limit for being unwell. The prospect of even thirty days of incapacitating illness would have been distressing; thirty weeks or months impossible to either believe or imagine. Here, after thirty years of severe ME, I am in a place far beyond anything the mind can process. It is a fact both shocking and absurd.
Like many with an acute onset, I can clearly remember the day my life changed forever. For numerous anniversaries I was inclined to relive that day in detail, the way one might recall a devastating accident. The emotions were often intense, with a real sense of grieving anew for the girl I had been.
Nowadays I look back in a more detached way. In part this is because I feel the division between the healthy and ill me less acutely. Sick or well, I am me and this is my life. It’s very different to the life I would have chosen, and I work constantly towards changing it for the better. But I can’t hold onto the idea of it being the wrong life: not when illness now accounts for so much of my time here on earth.
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