By Pippa Stacey in The Mighty.
If my story was part of an inspirational movie, dramatic music would play while I’d look meaningfully into the camera and gush about how becoming chronically ill changed my life for the better. I’d clasp my hands together and preach about how my condition helped me to discover more about myself as a person, and then waltz off into the sunset with a handsome prince and some kind of small fortune due to a dramatic plot twist.
Instead, this is real life. Rather than waltzing off into the sunset, I maneuver an unreliable wheelchair along a questionably uneven pavement. Instead of finding a handsome prince, I concentrate on finding the most qualified medical professionals to manage my condition — with bonus points if they happen to be attractive, of course. And my plot twist isn’t a small fortune: it’s not knowing if, when or how I will ever get better.
Being a classical ballet dancer as a child, I grew up learning that in order to succeed in my vocation, I had to push my body beyond its physical limits and never let up, not even for a second. When I first became poorly with a mystery illness at the age of 15, my natural instinct was to adopt this same approach. By mentally squashing down my symptoms as best as I could and pushing on through, I thought my body would remember that people “like me” just don’t get ill… right?
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