Symptoms have been really bad recently, and I am now getting reacquainted with my bedroom and the ceiling. I’ve had to take the past few days off school, so I started telling my friends that I had the plague. It sounds pretty awful, and that’s what it feels like.

The primary care physician, Dr. Mark, I saw today probably summed it up best: You’re only in your early twenties and you’ve been diagnosed with everyone’s worst nightmare: a general category of disease for which we know very little about and for which we don’t really have treatment. That sounds horrible, especially because you’re so young.

It’s definitely not helpful to live life in self-pity and to walk around thinking, Woe is me! That attitude definitely makes life all the more miserable. At the same time, Dr. Mark is right in a lot of ways. While pushing through and being tough might be the best plans of action, there comes a point when it’s realistic and even necessary to acknowledge the difficulty, the unfairness, and the gravity of a chronic illness, particularly a misunderstood one. In that context, I don’t feel as guilty when the only thing I do in a day is read 10 pages of reading. Actually, it’s really quite an accomplishment.

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