I’m Not Crazy…I’m Not Crazy…

One of the hardest things I find about having an invisible illness is the fact that even I can’t see it. Yes, I can feel what happens to my body, and I can see how it impacts my life, but on those bad days, when I get down on myself, it would be nice to be able to look in the mirror and be like “Look, Maddie. There it is. You aren’t crazy.”

I tend to get stuck in my head easily, and I convince myself that I am making this all up, even though I was diagnosed over four years ago. It is hard to be able to admit to myself that I am sick when the mirror is telling me I’m not.

Every time I go to a doctors appointment I have the fear that they will tell me I’m not sick, or that the symptom I am experiencing is all in my head. When it is validated it is nice, and I almost want to ask for a sticker saying “Sick. Not crazy”. I would wear it every day.

I don’t want people to feel pity for me, but some understanding would be nice. I don’t mind explaining to strangers why I have to sit down in weird places, or why I am out of breath, but not having to do so would also be really nice.

That’s one of the main reason’s I started this blog and its corresponding Instagram page. I have been through those days when even I don’t seem myself. I put my experiences down on paper, so others with similar experiences can relate, or those that want to know what it feels like can get a glimpse.

For those of us that live our lives invisible, I see you.




When It’s Terminal

Around Christmas my dad was diagnosed with cancer in his brain. During the course of the next two months we learned that chemo wasn’t going to be much help and our focus turned to making the time he had left be as comfortable as possible.

The second day of finals week I had the conversation that I had been dreading. I called my mom to ask if I should come home early for my birthday, I live far away and traveling home requires a plane, I wanted to be there for my family and maybe see my dad one last time. She told me that my dad had passed away earlier that day.

I knew it was going to happen, and I had said my goodbyes when my parents came to visit just weeks before, but that still doesn’t mean I was prepared for what happens. No one is prepared for losing someone you love.

Nothing can prepare you for those moments when you would give anything to hear them laugh one more time, or when you need to tell them something that happened and you have to decide who you tell now. No one prepares you for the moments that you are crying over ice cream because it was their favorite flavor, and you can’t share it with them. No one tells you that birthdays hurt because they knew you at one age, and now you will no longer be that age again. A permanent reminder that the world keeps moving even when they are no longer there.

My mom was amazing. She moved forward, keeping him alive every way she knew how. I always knew my mom was strong, but she keeps proving it to me every day. My brother wrote and delivered the eulogy. He has always had a way with words, and I couldn’t be prouder of the image that he painted of our dad that day.

My dad and I shared a love for tattoos, and before I traveled back to school I had to get one for him. I got the words “Just remember what I taught you and you’ll be fine” over my left ribs. My dad was an amazing teacher, both in and out of the classroom, and this tattoo is a permanent reminder of the lessons he taught me.

The first books I read after he died was the “Monsters of Verity” series. What I took away from these books is something I will keep with me for the rest of my life. They show you that life is full of pain, most of it unavoidable, but to make life worth the pain.

My dad knew the pain life had, but he lived every moment to make his life worth it. Now I do the same.

Make it worth the pain.