Dear systemic lupus, myositis, sjogrens overlap disease,

Who do you think that you are that you could just suddenly yet insidiously creep into my life and think you could turn my world upside down? Aren’t you me? Aren’t we in this life together? To be friends? You are my cells. You were made from me. Why would you turn on me? The ultimate betrayal you are. You have torn through my life stopping everything in its tracks. Everything coming to a dead halt as life goes on around me. Watching in desperation the people around me going about their lives without consideration what they might be going through yet having the delusion that they have a perfect healthy life. One I once had (or did I?). Why did you turn on me? You are me! I am you! Remember who you are……….or did you never really know who your were? Are you just as confused about who you have been just a I have been in my mind my whole life? Is that what this is? Are you confused? Do you not love me anymore and so you think I should self-destruct?

Or is this all a lesson in one of the greatest gifts on earth. Who am I and how do I love myself? Stop the battle within your mind. Know you are. Love who you are. And if it took you to show me that…………which you did….. Thank you. You are a reflection or a metaphorical manifestation of what I looked liked psychologically for so long.

No more. My body and my mind no longer believe the lie. My body and my mind now know the truth. You are my friend. After all you came from me. I love you. You need to love me. Do not believe the lie that has come from where ever you have come from that I am a foreign invader and an enemy. Stop trying to control everything and just let go. Stop trying to please the world and love you. Stop trying to be who you think others want you to be and be who you know you are. Who you were as a child, before the destruction. Believe in me. I believe you can remember who we are. I believe that you want this. I want this. Remember your innocence. Remember your purity. Forgive. Trust. Let go. Move forward. Untether and unchain from the idols of regret and pain from the past. It holds no weight anymore. Its ok to let go. Its ok to love me.

Today I appreciate that you let me feel the wind on my face, the sun on my skin, the smell of rain and grass in the spring, the love for my family and friends that was once blocked by things so trivial and kept you so stuck. I am able to let go. Lets let go. Its ok………I am your friend. I see God in the stars, I feel the air at night. I see others with love. I live with forgiveness. I don’t live in fear. I don’t live in shame. Lets move on……

Ashlee Whittemore, Austin, Texas