HIDDEN FROM VIEW
What do you see when you look at me? Is what you see, the real me?
I am the world’s greatest actress. Like my disease, I am the great pretender. So, for a few hours here and there, I pretend that my world is normal─that my life is that of a regular, healthy teenage girl.
You see me smile and laugh like a typical teenager.
What you don’t see is a girl who battles daily to be more than her disease allows.
You see a girl in the prime of her life with a world of possibilities ahead.
What you don’t see is …
HIDDEN FROM VIEW – THE BROKEN
You see a girl taking notes, writing with a wrist brace.
What you don’t see is my disease affecting my joints, making the pain in my wrists so bad that I cannot write without the help of the brace.
HIDDEN FROM VIEW – THE DISTRACTED
You see a student who comes to class, but who intermittently closes her eyes and seems to zone out.
What you don’t see is the blinding pain behind my eyes and the daily headaches that make it hard for me to concentrate or look at things for any length of time without the need to close my eyes. You don’t see the three-hour nap I need when I get home from class just to function.
HIDDEN FROM VIEW – THE UNRELIABLE
You see a classmate who is excited to work on a group project, but who misses days at a time and is only able to contribute to the team through texts, emails, or submitted documents.
What you don’t see is me fighting to contribute to the project despite daily crushing fatigue, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
HIDDEN FROM VIEW – THE UNSOCIABLE
You see a girl that comes to class, but who often sits by herself, seeming not to be part of any group or club or social gathering
What you don’t see is that I have been a part of your class all along. My illness forces me to miss so much school that I no longer have a place. The social groups have formed, seats have been taken, and there is no room for me. I’m not unsociable, I’m just simply invisible, hidden from view.
HIDDEN FROM VIEW – THE FORGOTTEN
You see a picture of a girl in your yearbook and say you don’t remember her, “Was she in my class or maybe a club?”
What you haven’t seen is that I was a student in your class and I tried to be a part of your world. Instead, my illness caused me to miss more and more.
I’m still a student, but I am relegated to online school at home, trying to balance my debilitating illness with my desire to finish high school ─ someday. I’m not surprised you don’t remember me, you never had the chance to get to know me … and now I’m forgotten.
Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. (Psalm 38:9 AMP)
Alexandra is a student at Calvin University majoring in computer science with a minor in Japanese. She has been battling chronic illness since 2011. She hopes that her experiences can help those in similar circumstances and for them to know that they are not alone in their struggles.
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Your life is changing. Jesus isn’t. The teen years are a kaleidoscope of change, especially when living with illness, anxiety, or chronic pain. Yet no matter how much changes, one thing remains the same: Jesus. Hope, encouragement, and resources for teens are available through Chronic Joy.