This photo capture the very day I contracted
I remember the day as clear as anything. I had just turned 16, having finished a very intense week of GCSE mock exams, I was in London with my parents visiting my sister who was working there on her placement year from university.
Enjoying the luxuries of London, me and my sister went site seeing, visited Portobello market, had afternoon tea, bought red velvet cupcakes at the famous Hummingbird bakery, and celebrated Chinese New Year in Times Square.
Walking towards the restaurant on our last day, I suddenly started to feel I was coming down with something.
By the time we got home it was clear I’d picked up the flu.
What none of us knew at the time and wouldn’t know for another six months was that on that cold, wet, winter’s day in London, I had actually contracted glandular fever, and whether I knew it or not, on Sunday 10th February 2013, my life had completely changed.
Most of you know the rest of the story – I never recovered from glandular fever and two years later I finally got diagnosed with M.E.
What makes me feel sad though is the fact that girl in the picture didn’t know the rest of the story. But I don’t mean that as a, “she had no idea what was about to come”, I actually mean I feel sad she didn’t know about the part when things were going to be okay.
The part where she would achieve happiness in a place least expected.
The part where she would learn to practise self-compassion instead of self-criticism.
The part where she would learn that although her journey is different from everyone else’s and not the one she had in mind, it doesn’t make it worse, it just makes it different.
The part where she would learn her self-worth is more than achievements on paper.
The part where she would learn to let go of her perfectionism and be happy with who she is.
The part where she would learn to make peace with her illness.
The part where she would learn to accept her life for what it was and to be okay with that.
I wish I could have gotten the chance to tell her all that.
I wish I could have told her things turned out more than okay.
The fact that I grieve for the girl in the photo more than the present me who is now entering the third year of being housebound maybe says it all.
Because the truth is, it really is more than okay. ❤️