i’m struggling with my 25th. birthday’s aren’t special anymore (like i’ve said for the past few years). they are a stark reminder of my morbidity and mortality. they make me question my life and my suffering, and for how long more till it everything ends. i seek for the real Steph. the Steph i lost 5 years ago after falling into depression. year after year however, i am more convinced that Steph is gone for good. that the Steph that i am now is the one i have to settle with. and that it will also deteriorate.

in one year i’ve learnt so much about myself and about people. it can be heartening, but more so it makes me disillusioned. i exist with the pure aim of preserving my life. i try to build upon that a life of love and giving, of hope and wanting, and of course growth .

putting back the pieces hasn’t been easy; it’s a sore understatement to say so actually. i’ve tried to learn to accept myself for what i am, and not identify myself for the illnesses i have. i experienced acceptance and rejection in that. more for the latter, rare for the former. i see the kindness and empathy of people, but also the cruelty of reality. i want to see mankind beyond their darker side; there are people who are saving graces, but the rest destroy that ideal of mine. and so you see that as time passes i grow more bitter and disillusioned.

i’ve had to deal with radical changes in my body. weight gain. fibromyalgia. more pain. more medications. i do what i can to cope, but i find myself being unable to. the basis of my suffering with RA first has not been grieved for properly, and simply having to deal with concurrent illnesses and being slapped with new ones, i cannot take it all in. in short i am struggling still, after so many years. i am battered and bruised, i try to be ok with it outwardly, but the dissonance is terrible. in the past year i’ve been more open about the crosses i bear, yet i am clammed up about my pain. i’ve begin to realise that putting up a facade of being well, especially at work, cannot sustain. it is cruel to the self.

recovery for me has a steep curve. from having to hurt myself to none at all. from relying on others (the doctors and hospitals) to save me i’ve begun to save myself. the notion that things can actually get better, that after the rain comes a rainbow, is still  very foreign to me. i dare not be hopeful because things always turn out otherwise. but i’m still learning to do that and yet still be hopeful. how do i do that, i don’t know. i’ve learnt to be gentle to myself. to be loving of myself, of what others cannot give to me. i am now said to be better than i ever was since 2010. but there are still dark clouds lurking, threatening to give thunderstorms and lightning. i am always wary that recovery can be lost to almost anything. it’s in such a precarious state. i never stop wondering how i can hold recovery in my hands, yet not drop it while the rest of my body and mind rebels.

again the aim is self-preservation, and no one can hold  my recovery in their hands. it’s mine to hold and my responsibility to bear.

i have been so blessed however, to be a child of God, a bride of my Lord. experiencing renewal in my faith, and returning to God. i have received so abundantly and so freely, i am loved in spite of my sins and transgressions. what i can say, is that in the last one year, returning to God was the most joyful. because of Him i could live a bit better and love even more. He sustains and heals, and i cannot ask for more.

i’ve been told a many time that i am an inspiration to others, for the things i do although i struggle with my circumstances. i’ve also been told that i am a great nurse. i deny them because i feel i am not worthy and deserving. but i am learning to be accepting of what i am, and the difference i make to others.

i am 25. i’ve lived a quarter of a century. i am shaped constantly by this life i live. and while i hate celebrating birthdays, i must because i am still here. nobody knows if i will get to live till my next birthday. i don’t know what the next one year will hold for me. the possibilities of regression and deterioration are real. however the hope of a better life and healing is always there.

i want to live more and love more. to give selflessly, and not ask. to keep choosing happiness and say no to what brings me down. i want to serve my Lord, and do His will.

Happy Birthday Steph. Stay hungry always.

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