For 23-year-old Peyton Connor, it happened last May when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
The chronic long-term condition can cause increased sensitivity to pain, extreme fatigue, difficulty sleeping and memory loss.
After the collapse at work in late 2015, several tests revealed that he had the condition, which completely changed his life.
The condition can paralyze, can cause people to become isolated. Some patients completely lose their social life.
Here, Peyton recites a heartbreaking letter to those closest to her.
First of all, please know how much I love you. I’m so grateful to have stayed with me and to bear me and all the madness that has surrounded me since I got hurt.
I could not have gone through the grueling stage of diagnosis, and through all the disbelief of those who did not think I was sick without your support.
While I proved they were wrong, you have no idea how much I would like them to be right, that there was nothing wrong, and it was all made to believe.
I wish I could express in words how sincere my broken heart is.
Unless you’ve been in my shoes, you can’t understand how painful it is to see so many opportunities pulling you away from you, so many dreams gone away, even before you had a chance to grab them.
It is a mental and physical pain, a pain in the head and in the heart.
Life throws us these things for a reason, and we need to find a way to survive, but that doesn’t make it easy to do.
We adapt to the situation in which we find ourselves, because we have to. It is the only choice we have, to continue.
Not only do I have a broken heart, I’m angry. Who wouldn’t be?
We wonder why we, because I, but there are no answers to these questions.
Think about it too long and you will go crazy. It does not start as a bright type of burning anger, but instead it does so without smoke.
Just don’t hear it at the beginning. But then it adds a level. And another. And another. Until everything is mired in hatred.
This disease is like a thief, but he is a clever thief. This thief knows how not to get in and steal everything in one go.
It would be too easy, too obvious, and it would have ended too soon.
Instead, this particular thief is cautious. He hides in the shadows, taking things one at a time, so that at first he doesn’t even notice.
You brush it off with a shrug of the shoulders when you notice that the agitation starts randomly. Ignore the crunch of pain that is always in the same place and does not seem to move.
Laugh at the memory loss and cover up the fact that you’re having accidents – joke about keeping your legs crossed when you cough in the future. Go on.
And because you keep going on, you push through all the demons that pull you, people think you’re okay. Reaffirm this belief by repeating them, yes, yes, you are well.
When they express their concerns, tell them convincingly that it is just a cold, a touch of influence, that time of the month. Mind for this. Because in life we are taught only how to keep going.
And when you find yourself believing the lie, then and only then is when the thief will hit.
He will collect all his collection, along with some new things he will find around your body, and he will leave. It will be safe to disconnect some wires and briefly connect some sockets in your mind before it goes.
And that’s when reality hits you. All at once, you are not the person you were before, and who you are now is a stranger to you.
Being face to face with an impostor in your brain, after 23 years of solitude, of control … it’s terrifying.
It is rooted in you to fight this impostor. We don’t like letting strangers take control. But they are much stronger than us.
We try to fight the imposter, to medicate them in submission, to discuss them outside their position. We try to think positively, to exercise, to follow a diet and to change parts of ourselves in the hope of getting the imposter out of our minds … but the joke is on us.
These changes are just his subtle way of getting an even stronger grip on us. We played in his hands.
So, what’s left to do for us, except regular, accept the rules that this impostor, this thief, made necessary and adapted to these conditions.
We change our entire lives, change all our habits and greet each other for the dreams we have had since childhood. We accept that it was not intended to be.
So all that remains is to ask you, my loved ones, my friends … to accept this too. Accept that what we do is not by choice, but because we still had no choice to make.
Accept that we are not weak, but we have simply exhausted all our strength.
Accept that we are not lazy, but tired.
And accept that we no longer like these changes of you.
But as history shows, we are built to adapt. So we did.