1. Do you have a primary diagnosis, if so, what is it?
A: I was born with a congenital heart condition. I had to get a VSD, and stayed in the hospital a few days. At the age of 3, I was diagnosed with epilepsy.
2. How long did it take you to get diagnosed?
A: I was diagnosed the day of my birth for my heart condition and I was diagnosed at 3 for my epilepsy
3. How did you feel when you were first diagnosed? (ex: relieved, upset, numb?) What was the first thing you did?
A: Since I was so young I didn’t exactly know what it meant to have these medical conditions but when I got older I came the understand what they meant and I didn’t like it, I felt left out and like I didn’t belong. I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things and that was crusty. It made me feel like an outsider which in turn led to depression and anxiety
4. What advice would you give to someone who is chronically ill but undiagnosed?
A: You should just take it one day at a time. I know it’s hard and you don’t have all of your answers but you can make it through.
5. Has your chronic illness changed your perspective, and if so, how?
A: Yes, very much. It has made me see life in a more positive and realistic way. I’m more wild and confident. I'm not afraid to speak my mind and I do that because you never know what crusty life changes are gonna come your way, so you just have to enjoy it while you have that blessing.
6. What moment are you most proud of in your chronic illness journey thus far?
A: Being 3 months seizure free, it was hard but I made it through and I'm so proud of myself for being strong (and careful) and getting through it.
7. What was your hardest (or lowest) moment, mentally and/or physically, that you’ve been through on your journey
A: Getting my diagnosis of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). I always knew I had it but it was more impactful getting the diagnosis. Especially since I was at the doctor's for depression; it was scary, more medication, and just more to constantly worry about. I was insecure and wouldn’t tell anyone.
8. What or who has helped you the most during the lowest days?
A: My friend Annika, she was always there and never left, even when she was mad at me she taught me how to be a better and happier person, even on her lowest days, there’s so much more to her. I swear she’s perfect and I'm not just saying that because she’s my best friend. She’s literally so amazing.
9. If you had any words of advice for someone struggling with a similar diagnosis, what would they be?
A: Take it one day at a time, I know it’s hard, I know you’re tired, i know you’re scared, but you can do it, just take it one day at a time, you can do it, you’re stronger than you realize I promise, and like DM me please if you need someone, I promise I'm not just a stranger!!
10. What would you like the world to know about life as a chronic illness patient?
A: It’s crusty, but I'm strong, We’re strong and by we, I mean every badass in the chronic community making it through every pill, insulin pump, feeding tube, oxygen tank, wheelchair, VNS, blood pressure pump, syringe, and so much more, I love you, we’re strong.
By Mikayla | @_makayla.wade_