How I Found My Sense Of Worth

When you have a chronic illness, your self worth takes a nosedive. You go from being a precious commodity to a bargain basement sell-out. It’s too easy to fall into the many pitfalls of chronic illness.

I was once a thriving young woman, a registered nurse who enjoyed helping others. I truly believed that was my calling. However, these days, it seems that all I do is manage my health issues. I go from my doctor to other specialists while trying to control my chronic condition, lupus. Most of the time, I’m on steroids to suppress my overactive immune system, and I live in fear of many things, including the common cold.

My illness is complex, kind of like a Hydra. You know, that mythical creature that sprouts multiple heads. When one is cut off, two more grow in its place. It seems like as soon as we get one problem managed, another one pops up, and when it’s really bad, multiple problems arise at the same time. It’s disheartening, to say the least. Since my lupus has progressed over the last 12 years, I’ve taken a few tumbles down that slippery slope of despair, not knowing my purpose or sense of direction. It’s quite easy to isolate yourself when you’re not feeling well. I tend to feel unlovable when my lupus is at its worst, and that’s when my self-worth tanks.

A friend recently sent me a quote: “And the moon said to me – my darling, you do not have to be whole in order to shine.” I’ve always been fascinated by the moon and stars, frequently looking up to the heavens above for guidance. This quote touched my heart and reminds me to shine a little bit every day.  I remind myself that I will not be a victim of lupus but instead will strive to become a warrior.

That slippery slope of despair feels like a mountain to climb, making strides but sliding down, much like climbing a muddy hill. Every day, I remind myself to climb that mountain back to where I belong. Finding hope that one day is not a lifetime, to hold on for better days ahead.

The bottom line is that everyone deserves love! Isolation causes complications; it’s just not healthy. We are social beings. Life isn’t meant to be spent alone, so find your self-worth. For me, it’s about stopping the ugly chatter in my head that I’m just not enough to be loved. And don’t accept anything less than you deserve! Know your worth and that you are worthy.

Remember that you’re not alone.

Everyone struggles at times.

Everyone has insecurities.

You’re not broken; you’re human. Listen to the inner voice that says “try again tomorrow.” Try to remember how far you’ve come and what you have overcome.

Never give up!

You are enough! You are worthy!

Michele Palermo

Michele is a retired registered nurse who spent 15 years in Emergency Medicine. That's where she learned there's a fragility to life. Diagnosed with lupus, after going through a divorce, taught her to be a survivor instead of a victim. With her career shortened by illness she turned to books. She fell in love with the written word as a young child. To her, words convey emotion. Her new passion is writing. As an aspiring author, she hopes to inspire others on this roller coaster called life.

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