I’m not one to often open up with others about the “downsides” of life. Instead, I unintentionally refrain from revealing any negative information in an effort to keep everyone else afloat.

When I show any vulnerability, I also invite people to support me in that stage. But to me, that is frustrating. I don’t want people to worry about me, to take care of me, or to change anything because of me. I would rather push myself to the limit to keep others satisfied.

But I learned some recent lessons, and I knew that if I wanted to share them, I also needed to give some back story…so here I am–somewhat exposing myself in the hopes that I can help others who may be feeling a little like me.

The crazy part is feeling like me means not feeling like me. I no longer feel like myself, and I also struggle to do a small percentage of the things that I was previously able to do. Last November marked the introduction to some strange health issues in my life, and I have just recently discovered one of the answers. I’ve had tests, procedures, and even an exploratory surgery. I have had my arms and fingers poked. I have bruised from needles. And until this past week, I still had no answers. I now have an explanation for a few symptoms, but the doctors are still searching to make sense of the rest.

I occasionally opened up to my family and to my co-workers, but I still hid the symptoms. How could I drag everyone else down? My fiancĂ© was, and still is, the only one who sees it all, and sometimes I just feel horrible about pulling him into the chaos.

But it’s a burden to bear. It’s not easy holding it all in and expecting people to somewhat understand. After nearly 10 months of the same symptoms, gradually progressing, I have gotten frustrated and upset. I feel the impairment each day and wish I could go back to “normal.” I see my friends doing the things I want to do and only hope that they won’t assume I’m lame for not joining in. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s that my body won’t let me.

So what are the lessons I’ve learned? Why did I feel as though this was something special enough to share?

I’ve learned to have a greater appreciation and a greater faith. 

It is so easy to acknowledge the symptoms and limitations. When I try to go for a run and only make it half a mile, I get angry at myself. I get mad at my body. This frustration only feeds off of itself and soon enough I am in a negative state of mind, saddened and feeling alone. Why can everyone else do these things? Yet, instead of seeing what I cannot do, I have learned to appreciate what I still can.

I may not be able to run, but I can walk. I may not be able to hike to the summit of a mountain, but I can still walk on an incline for a few miles. I may not be able to stay up late, but I can still enjoy a few hours with friends after work.

I am easily thankful for the good things in my life, but I forget to thank God for the trials too. I have no doubt that this has all been orchestrated for a reason, so I must be thankful for the current situation.

Which also leads to a greater faith. It is easy to trust God’s plans when things are going well, but to have faith in Him when they aren’t going as well can be more challenging. A couple weeks ago, the church I attended had a sermon on how we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, who comforts, strengthens, encourages, intervenes, convicts, and so much more. This hit me hard.

As of late, I had been keeping all of my emotions and physical feelings to myself. I was embarrassed and afraid to tell others. I didn’t want to drag them down, but I also knew that some of the people I had told just didn’t understand. Some tried hard, and some did not. But either way, they weren’t in my shoes. They didn’t know how it all felt.

And that hurt too. I felt alone. I felt like even if I did open up, no one would actually be able to get through it with me because there was a disconnect. Yet, the Holy Spirit gets it. The Holy Spirit resides inside of me and prays to God for me 24/7. The Holy Spirit can comfort me when no one else can. The Holy Spirit can guide my thoughts to God, who loves and cares and strengthens.

My faith is what can get me through, and for you, the truth is the same.

I don’t want anyone to worry or to question after reading this blog, but I do want them to know the importance of appreciation and faith. It’s going to keep me afloat, and for this reason, it is worth sharing.