I Feel Trapped like a Bird with Broken Wings
A Young Girl’s Story about Living with Chronic Illness
By Karen Richards
What is it like to be chronically ill? I can describe being chronically ill in many words but the one word which best fits the reality of being chronically ill is trapped. Yes, being chronically ill is like being trapped. It is like being tied up in invisible ropes that nobody but you can see. Your mind says one thing and your body says another.
For me, the hardest thing is watching my friends do things which I could never dream of doing because of my chronic illnesses. When there is a party, but I can’t go because I am in the hospital. When I miss a week of school because of a raging migraine and then I come back and I am behind everyone else and I have to do triple the amount of work just to stay at their level.
Some people think that I am lazy, but what they don’t realize is how hard I really do try.
Like I said, my chronic illnesses are like my traps. They are invisible ropes that tie me to my bed. They are like heavy chains I have to drag around with me. No one can see them but I can feel them and trust me, I always know that they are there. All the time, I feel sick and nobody can see and nobody cares.
Chronic illness is like being tied up and constantly having to fight the bonds. I have given a lot up for my chronic illnesses and that makes me very sad. The thing is, I can’t let these illnesses rule my life. I may have bonds but I have to learn how to deal with them.
When I was little, my mom adopted a bird from her work. It was a strange bird because it had been in an accident and broken its wings. Because of this, it could no longer fly. Still, it would hop around and get places. The bird couldn’t fly but it was just as happy as any other bird could be. The bird taught itself how to get around and no one even paid attention to the fact that it couldn’t fly. It was just like an other bird. It was happy and no one felt bad for the bird. Although the bird was trapped to the ground, it found a way to be happy. It adapted to its situation and made the best out of it. The bird could not fly but it was just as free as any other bird.
That is the thing about chronic illnesses. A chronic illness is like broken wings. A chronic illness may prevent you from flying but we all have a choice to figure it out. With a chronic illness you may not be able to fly like the others but you can hobble your way across. And in many ways that is how I deal with my trap.
My bonds that prevent me from being like the others. I make the best that I can out of them. I don’t want to give up living until the day my heart stops beating. It is true that I can never be normal but isn’t it also true that there is such thing as different.
My bird couldn’t fly but that didn’t stop it. Just because it had broken wings doesn’t mean it was going to sit in one spot for the rest of its life and do nothing. And just because I have my problems doesn’t mean that I am going to sit in bed all day.
It is true that when I get my migraines I want to do nothing but lay in a dark room but I have a migraine every day. I cannot spend my life in a dark room. I have to suck it up and live. Chronic illness is not something simple. It is not something that people without chronic illness can understand.
A bird cannot possibly imagine not flying until it breaks its wings. Chronic illness is a horrible thing that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It is forgotten, it is looked over, it is laughed at, it is purely hell. Chronic illness is also “chronic”. It doesn’t get better. I am going to be just as sick doing what I love as I am when I am laying in a dark room with a washcloth over my face.
Chronic illness is what it is and it is something that nobody wants to accept. The thing is, I have a mind that still works, true sometimes I blank out because of my brain problems but I am still a person and I am still here. If a bird can find a way to live without its wings then I can find a way to live with chronic illness.
Karen is a 15 year old girl who has many chronic illnesses including, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, POTS, RSD, and chronic migraines. Over the years Karen has had to learn how to deal with her conditions and continue to live her life. Karen feels that it is important to live your life no matter what may be affecting it.