I guess you could call me a young adult, just slightly older than a teen and a book that I read pointed this site out to me. So I’m going to give it a try. Normally I’m strong. Well put together, I both work and go to school full time. I have an incredible boyfriend. But over the past 7 months I’ve gotten to the place where I no longer recognize the person in the mirror. I’ve been extremely sick since the last week of December. They originally found cancer but when I went to get treatment they can no longer find it. No one knows quite what’s wrong with me. We have even been to the Mayo clinic and they aren’t exactly sure either. I’m constantly exhausted, and in excruciating pain 24/7. I can’t get out of bed most days let alone do anything that I love anymore. I really don’t know how much longer I can go on like this but I don’t want to give up on life. I have a big family, an incredible boyfriend, and a newborn nephew who need me but it’s just so hard to get through the days. I’m lost and I don’t know what to do.
HELPING YOURSELF NOW
- Thank you so much for writing in to TeenCentral and sharing your story with our community. As you can probably see there are many people here writing in of many ages and situations so you are very welcome to contribute. There is power in speaking your story and hearing others’. That is one of the differences of this websites. It’s not a one way communication but a community of sharing with each other. Thank you for your bravery. We can hear your pain and there are people here who have had similar experiences with undiagnosed medical issues.
- We noticed that your situation sometimes brings you to the brink of wondering if you should give up on life. This is certainly understandable given the pain you’re in and the unanswered questions you continue to deal with. If you get to that point again we want you to call someone right away who can talk with you over the phone or chat with you with immediate responses. The best we know to recommend for that is the National Suicide Hotline -800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org . I’d recommend that you put this contact information in your phone so you have it with you all the time. Another back up resource is the Crisis Textline. You just need to text “Hello” to 741741 and start a conversation. They handle a wider variety of crises and can also be very helpful. We just want you to have a resource in your back pocket in case you feel one of those “lows” again. You said it yourself – you know you really don’t want to give up on life, so put some prevention strategies in place for yourself.
- Who is your go-to person for sharing and talking things out? Is it your boyfriend? Or – do you think it might be time to find a professional who can objectively listen to all of this pain you are feeling? People who deal with severe chronic medical issues often don’t think of this, but the strain is heavy on your mental health. The appointments, the tests, the waiting, the wondering, all of it. It is a lot to deal with. And after a while it’s important to have someone you can process all of that with BESIDES a friend or family members. Just think about it if you haven’t already.
EVERY DAY SELF CARE
- In addition to the critical items listed above remember that self-care is 24/7 consideration. Take a look at this TOOL we’ve developed for reference: Mental Health Protection Tool It shows various areas of consideration for protecting your mental wellness.
- For someone in your situation we can’t say this enough – ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF. No one will advocate more for you, than you. When dealing with the medical community always speak up about the symptoms you are experiencing. If a medicine is not working, tell your doctor sooner rather than later. If you feel your doctor is missing something TELL him/her/them. Don’t be afraid or feel badly about seeking a second opinion – or a third. Don’t ever give up. This is your health. It’s your life. This is an aspect of self-care that people don’t always think about.
- Outside of medical treatments what calms you? What reduces your stress level? Is it prayer? Is it exercise? Is it lighting candles and listening to classical music? Is it painting or dancing? Is it spending time with animals? Find things that calm you and do them on a regular schedule. There are apps for your phone like “Calm” and youtube channels that offer all kinds of guided meditation or Lectio Divina prayer. These are just a few suggestions for you to try. Building something like one of these into life could really be helpful as you deal with these difficult circumstances.
- Lastly, just know that you are cared for, you are SEEN, you are thought of. We are hoping you are given a clear diagnosis soon so that an effective treatment can be given and your quality of life can return. All our best wishes from TeenCentral!