Fibromyalgia ended my childhood at age 15.
Oftentimes, I reminisce the life I had before my invisible illness. I think about how lucky I was, how privileged I was. I had the privilege of being able to carry a purse without pain, being able to type on my laptop without my joints hurting, of playing tennis, of laughing without my back hurting, of being free of anxiety and depression; I had the privilege of being a healthy, happy teenager. One night, I went to bed and woke up to a completely different reality- a harsher one. I was no longer "normal", I was now sick.
I always think about how my life was headed in the right direction and fibromyalgia somehow drove me to a crooked road. I feel sad thinking about how I am so different from the rest of my peers in college.
However, today I have been thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for because of my illness. My illness is what inspired me to start my instagram account: @fightingfibromyalgia_, it inspired me to research more, it fueled my passion to become a physician, it inspired me to become a blog writer for IWM so I can share my story and learn from the stories of others, it taught me the importance of taking care of myself, it taught me that everyone has a unique story and we can never fully know what someone is going through, it taught me how to listen more and judge less, it taught me pain creates art as so many of my poems have been inspired by my illness, it showed me that I am stronger than I believe, and it shaped me in ways I could have never imagined.
Fibromyalgia took a lot away from me-but it gave me vehemence, empathy, and creativity. And for that, I am grateful.