Dear Hidradenitis Suppurativa,
You snatched away my privacy; but you taught me humility.
For a time, you took away my ability to walk; but you taught me to cherish the movements of my body.
You took away my ability to feed myself or brush my own teeth; but you taught me to rely on other people and ask for help.
You’ve given me miles and miles of scars; but you taught me that there is so much more to a person’s beauty than their skin.
You created a lifelong battle with my body; but you taught me to forgive her and engage her with compassion instead of anger and hatred.
You continually break the hearts of my family members; but you’ve strengthened our bond and shown us what we’re capable of weathering together.
You’ve isolated me, causing me to miss countless important moments in the lives of friends and family; but you gave me a community of warriors who make me feel seen and understood.
You’ve torn apart my body and broken her time and time again; but you’ve taught me about the incredible healing powers my body possesses, and what she can overcome.
You’ve made me wish I was dead, made me want to give up on fighting; but you taught me that when I’m too tired and weary to fight, that my family will fight for me and save me.
You made me want to hide my scarred body and soul from the world; but you taught me the strength in vulnerability, that my vulnerability could give others strength to fight.
You brought upon the most suffocating depression, anxiety, and PTSD I could ever have imagined experiencing; but you taught me to be patient with myself and give myself grace while I healed from incredible mental, physical, and emotional trauma.
You gave me so much pain that I often forgot that I was human; but you taught me that I am a fighter and that no pain is great enough to break my spirit.
You’ve taken so much away from me; but you’ve given me purpose.
So much of my life has been spent resenting you, when in reality I have you to thank for the parts of me that I treasure most.
I’ve resisted you, cursed you, hated you, protested you; but I’ve never thanked you.
Thank you, Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
Thank you for all that you’ve given me.