When Chronic Illness Makes Me Feel Worthless

There are days when I feel absolutely worthless. Days where I contemplate the reality of my life, and seemingly everything comes up short. 

Let’s go through the list of disappointments, shall we?  I am a 21 year old 3-time college drop out.  I have maybe one semester of college completed, and most of those units come from AP classes I took in high school.  I haven’t had a job in 3 years.  The only job I’ve ever had was dressing up as a princess for kids birthday parties so my overall work experience is lacking.  Last summer I tried dogsitting for two weeks and I got so insanely sick from it that my parents had to take over because I collapsed in my cousin’s driveway and literally couldn’t move for 3 days. I have zero income. I applied for Disability benefits and was denied because I never held a job that paid into social security.  Isn’t it dumb that I can’t work due to being disabled and I can’t get Disability because I haven’t worked?  I haven’t driven for 7 months.  I volunteered at a hospital last year, was given the easiest job they had (my coworkers were over 90 years old), only worked one day per week for 4 hours just sitting in a chair, and STILL didn’t even last 3 months.  I haven’t been able to work a volunteer shift in 6 months.

In a weird way it seems like I peaked in high school, and not for the normal reasons.  I wasn’t popular, I didn’t do sports, barely did any extracurriculars at all, but my 4.3 high school GPA is glaring me in the face.  I was so on top of my shit in high school.  I was objectively someone my family could be proud of.  

The cold hard facts of my lack of post-high school achievements unfortunately speak for themselves.  However, I need to remind myself of some other facts.  3 years ago I became bedbound for a year and a half.  I was unable to stand for 10 seconds without passing out.  Despite this, I completed 3 online college courses.  While my peers were tackling college, I was in 24/7 pain, unable to walk, searching for diagnoses.  Throughout all of this I never gave up hope.  Despite my pain I bravely attempted going back to school, finding work, and volunteering.  Even though I failed at these things, I respect myself for having the guts to even attempt them. I began baking, which I never ever thought I would do since I’ve always been afraid of the oven.  I fearlessly went through medical procedures that would have given high school me a panic attack. I fucking relearned how to walk.  I fought for better doctors, better testing, and better treatments.  My fighting paid off because I now have 7 diagnoses, after so many years of uncertainty.  I began writing and got an article published.  I went from hiding my illnesses and disabilities to being proud of them and sharing my story and experience with anyone who will listen.  

Most importantly, I found strength I never knew I had, and despite my feelings of worthlessness, that strength will always be there, and will always pull me through.


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