Autoimmune Disease

Please Don’t Feel Sorry For Me.

This is my life. And though it’s taken long enough, I’ve finally accepted it.

I’m Bailey. I have Sjögren’s, Fibromyalgia, Celiac, and have been diagnosed with Bipolar II, depression, and anxiety.

I have those diseases. I refuse to let them define me. 

I have those illnesses, and they have changed my life to be more difficult.

I have those sicknesses, and my family, husband, and I have fought through to learn everything we can know.

I have them. I’ve been diagnosed with them. I go to doctors to manage them.

But I am not them. I am not the disease. I am not the illness. I am not the sickness.

When you look at me, I hope you that you see a strong and determined woman. A woman who will not stop finding her way through life, no matter the road blocks.

“You were assigned this mountain to show others that it can be moved.”

I’m Bailey. I have a beautiful husband. (We’ve been married for 4 years!) I have 4 precious and pure hearted fur children (fur children; a limit we have accepted.)  I’m able to stay home from work thanks to my kind and helpful husband. It’s another limit we’ve grown accustom to 

I have a more than accepting family and two friends in particular that truly try their hardest to understand and help.

It’s hard. And I’ll be the first one to say! I, myself, don’t understand all of this enough to be able to explain it to another person…

Today, I came to an amazing sign in the road I’ve been walking down since I’ve heard diagnostic words come out of doctor’s mouths.

I’ve seen this sign at least 1,000 times. For some reason, today, it just hit me differently.

God gives his biggest battles to his strongest soldiers. 

Ive grown through this lifelong battle. Grown in maturity and empathy. I’ve grown in nurturance and acceptance. I’ve grown in love and I’ve grown in peace. I’ve grown in clutter and absolute chaos and noise. I’ve grow through fog in which we have no sight left.. I’ve grown in pouring rain. The point is: these diagnoses have changed me, but it’s been for the better. My mind is expanded and so has my heart. 

Please don’t feel sorry for me. I have these diagnoses, but I am not defined by them. I’m a person behind all of the labels. And as of today, I feel more confident. I’ve stepped out from the labels that I’ve been hiding behind and into the sunlight. I’ve been missing out on this life. And some days, I still may miss out on quite a bit. Good days come and go, just as well as the bad days do.

But don’t feel badly for me. Do not tell me you’re sorry. Because everybody has “their something” in life.

Just know the labels. See them. Acknowledge them; but pass them by, and say hello to me, Bailey – the person behind the labels.

And don’t pay the labels one more thought. If Im having a difficult day, you can know that one of those labels has something to do with it – that label is and never will be me, ever again. 

I’m not missing out on this world anymore.

Fibromyalgia has really got some nerve. Sjögren’s Syndrome really has a punch. But I, as Bailey, do as well.

“I have learned that when sadness comes to visit me, all I can do is say “I see you.” I spend time with it, get up, and say goodbye. I don’t push it away, I own it. And because I own it, I let it go.”

-Carolina Zacaria 

I will not be defined as my diseases.

I will be defined by my strength and courage.

✌🏼&💜,

Bailey

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