Elin Wahlstedt is from Sweden and a regular contributor to the CME Medical Knowledge Centre. Elin has a rare medical condition that makes her dependent on Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). Here she opens up about how her condition can make her feel…
I always figured that one day it would get easier. That one day I would wake up with the sun shining in through my windows, throwing sparkly sunrays all over my bedroom floor. Birds singing outside just like in a Disney movie and that everything would just feel OK. That one day I would find peace within myself and embrace the life I’ve been given with a sense of harmony. That I would look at obstacles and see them as more just a bump in the road I have to get across every day.
I always figured that one day I would feel some kind of acceptance but as the years pass me by, I’m starting to feel like that day just isn’t going to come.
I don’t write a lot about the thoughts that always echo in the back of my head. The thoughts that I so desperately try to push away and ignore with all my power, because in my head I’m not the person who complains. I’m positive. I smile. I bring people joy. I’m the happy one and I always have been. When I step out of the door on a morning, I put a smile on my face no matter how bad I feel. It’s a routine. I literally don’t even think about it anymore. When I go out I smile. When I meet people I smile. Honestly though? It’s exhausting.
This is a new realization for me but looking back, it’s something I’ve always done. When I was younger I did exactly the same thing. I could be at home with a high fever, sleeping on the couch but as soon as my mom took me to the hospital, I would smile and laugh and jump around. It got to the point where nurses and doctors didn’t believe my mom when she said I was sick because they just couldn’t believe that this energetic girl could barely have got out of bed ten minutes earlier.
I have always done it. This habit has left deep tracks that are incredibly hard to get out of. Part of me is really scared to get out of these tracks. What will happen if I stop being happy all the time? If I stop smiling every waking minute of the day? What would happen if I took off that joyful mask and actually let people see the person behind it?
Honestly? My fear is that it would make me even sicker and hiding from being sick is the reason why I started smiling in the first place. Because someone so happy and so full of life can’t really be sick, right?
But I just don’t have the energy to be happy all the time. I think the truth is finally catching up to me.
This is who I am… Today I am chronically ill and it really sucks.