It has been said that tough times will make or break you, but if you suffer from a debilitating or chronic illness, the tough times will do both. We can liken the experience to military training, the breakdown of the individual and then building of the person into a soldier. Or similarly, the difficult moments in relationships; a marriage that experiences the death of a child or infidelity. These extreme circumstances tend to be those all or nothing moments in life. Where life as we know it can never be the same. But what happens if the life altering situation is with your health?
It is true, our bodies and mind can betray us. How am I to feel when the flesh that houses me, the mind that keeps my hopes, my dreams and my memories, become the enemy? This entity that afflicts and destroy everything I thought I knew about myself. Suddenly there is no refuge anywhere I go, because the place I am trying to escape inside of myself.
I remember the days when I looked in the mirror and only saw an empty shell of the person I once was. Now I see myself too full for comfort. I grab at the rolls of skin on my body. The flesh that encapsulates this soul I can not seem to control but can not get away from. It does not matter what I was before because now I am a different form. That sick girl is a confused woman just trying to do what is right and forget anything terrible ever happened.
I don’t know if I can forget the years of starvation or the blades I put into my skin. I still have nights where the pain brings me to my knees and I struggle to breathe. This sickness broke me and then made me into the person I am today. My name is Jayla and some days I want to hide away from this world. I feel like everyone around me can see the broken pieces I’ve haphazardly try to glue back together to appear “normal.”
I would like to say I carry on despite everything I’ve been through, but really I do it full of spite. This is not directed towards another, but that defeated girl I remember myself as. I hate that part of me. This weak and defeated person. I am also naturally rebellious and refuse to be taken down. When I fall, I always get back up again. I refuse to be anything less than resilient.
Still, there is always that small voice in my head telling me, “You will never be well. You are broken.” Those messages ring through my mind on a daily basis. Everyday that I get up anyway I yell back “Just watch me.”