There was a time when I didn’t know how—or if— I would be. And by if I mean: would I function? Would I even exist? I was so sick. So sick in fact, that it changed who and what I am today. It changed everything. I want to share in that… because it’s a current thought rolling through my mind..

I often feel weird sharing thoughts on my past and current illness. Honestly, I’m tired– oh so incredibly tired of even hearing myself talk about it. But over and over again I feel the need to explain myself to people.

I was once someone else.

This is me now.

In my life story, there is and will always be a very real before and after that occurred the year I turned thirty. Yes, if I dive hard enough into ‘the before and after‘ thought, I can debate myself, “but there are other before and afters moments of your life too— there was a *you before motherhood*– and a *you now*. But: I shifted through motherhood. There were steps I took forward, passing and growing through time. And like the other big milestones and hard moments in my life: I developed.

With sudden illness there were no steps, no slow development. There was a drastic replacement of who I was, who I could become, and the person I was forced into. No time for shifting. No grace period. The person I was, substituted with the person I am now. Lesser.

And so to each new person in my life I explain, I was once someone elseSomething happened. This is me now. An internal feeling of “You would have liked me before. Please forgive me. I am not my best self. I could be better. I should be better.” An internal begging, a plea of “Please accept this broken version of myself. I am healing.”

I used to be braver. I used to be stronger. I used to be funny. I used to be happier. I used to be FUN. I used to be motivated. I used to be witty and quick. I used to be capable… able, less needy. I used to be creative. I used to be reliable. I used to be confident. I used to be… me.

I am healing. And this is me now.

(please forgive me).

I was once in a place where I felt I was becoming everything I was capable of… and more. I felt able. I felt strong. I felt confident and focused. I was a perfectionist creating the life I wanted for myself. My home, my family, my career. I was setting goals… and better yet: I was reaching them. But then illness came. No grace period. No transition.

This is me now.

I’ve lost myself. I have ideas but no goals. Needs but no wants. Every idea has been consumed with the vision of healing. Today, I wonder if I’ll even be able to live up to the former version of myself.

And from experience, I can very confidently tell you: you’ll never know how capable you are, until you become the lesser version of yourself.

In the beginning of illness, I wanted to feel good again. I wanted to find health. I wanted to feel like the person I was before I got sick. But as years passed and time changed, I’ve came to understand: that person is gone. And what I was left with was an often feeling:  lesser version of myself. A person who is healing.

I am person who needs to learn how to grow again. A new person. Someone who must create a new path based around the body and energy I now carry.  I joke: “My body hates me”. And  I catch myself and then I pull back. Negative self talk? I know better. My body loves me. I need to not only love it back, but show it. Stop with the negative self talk. Who is the joke humoring? Who is benefiting? Not myself. Stop it. Your mind is listening. It’s always listening. Change the internal conversation.

Stop it.

I am healing. My body does not hate me. My body is trying. I am trying. I am trying so hard. With everything. Not only with myself but in every aspect of my life, I’m hyper focused in being better. The perfectionist that has always lived inside me is over-stepping. I know better.

Alex tells me, “you live with a fear of dying”. He’s right. “And now that voice tells you that nothing is enough, because you’re on a timer and you know your  timer is running out.” He’s right again. At one point that fear kept me alive. It kept me going and growing. Today that fear stands in my way.

I cried when we got to a church in the middle of nowhere, Uayma. Not exploding dramatic tears. Not even whimpering tears. The burn your eyes feeling that creeps in when an emotion finds you. For me, it was the feeling overwhelming joy. At one point in time before illness this place, Uayma, was a goal. An image found. A treasure hunt. And a plan to one day find this hidden gem. Then sickness came and it felt like an intangible dream. An image to look at, to hope for, but a reminder that I might in fact never make even my simpler dreams come true. Forget the big picture, the big goals, a reminder that the little moments I wanted were out of reach too.

But at some point I healed enough to get out of bed. I healed enough to travel again. I healed enough to spend more than a week feeling better, feeling okay. And at some point following, Mexico came. Time away and making goals, even smalls ones, come to life. Our car reached this church and the tears came in.

A small victory in healing.


The problem in my healing is that this is who I am now. I’m healing. But what else? This month, this week, today, more than ever before I’m realizing that I lost myself. I’m tired of healing. I want to be stronger, capable, quick and witty, fun, motivated… happy. I want to be… myself.

I know I wont be the person I was before. But I don’t want to feel like a lesser version of who I was either. I don’t want “healing” to be who I am—- I want it to be the part of my story that has moved into the past-tense. I want who I am now to be a list of qualities beyond “healing” and “determined to heal.”

And so now, I silence my pleas and quiet the internal begging for forgiveness. (Or I try to). Because who I was then, does not change who I am now. I have to find myself again. I have to create myself again. I have to be someone beyond healing. I have to believe it.

Because this, no matter what I choose to believe– or especially what I choose to believe, is who I am now.

From here I can develop. Yes, I am healing.

But I am also someone who can be braver, stronger, funnier, happier, more fun, motivated, witty… and quick, more capable… able, less in need, more creative, more reliable, and more confident.

Because this is who I am now.

I am me. And I am growing.

29 Comments

  1. Hi Drea, you are on the mend, almost there, hang on, something good is coming just around the corner.

  2. Michelle F Reply

    I really appreciate this post. I, too, in my 30th year had a huge change. A mental break down that took 12 weeks of “rehab” (staying with loved ones, out of my old element) until I was ready to go back to “normal” life… but nothing is really normal. I’m 4 yrs in… still trying to navigate how to be a better version of myself. Everyday is a new day and a step closer to being happy with yourself. You are trying your best and that’s all you can really do. Love and positive vibes!

  3. This really resonated with me. I kind of had the opposite experience, where I was born with a disease that almost took my life several times. Around age 30 I was given a medication, a miracle drug really, that made it to where I can have some semblance of a normal life. After that, it was like, who am I now? I can relate to this on so many levels. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

    ~Laurali

    • I’m so happy you found something that could make you feel better– physically. The emotional feel awesomeness will follow — and is following 🙂

  4. I love your posts. I had an experience a few years ago where I was very sick. I’m okay now, but mentally it wrecked my mind and sense of self. I’ve been slowly getting it back but physically, I’m not as strong as I used to be and I never will be. I have gone through the door and am on the other side. Re-reading the biography of Frida Kahlo helped me immensely. I also re-read Anne Lamott’s Bird By BIrd and Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces. I read all of those when I was young and healthy, but re-reading them now has filled me with a sense of purpose and peace about my place in the world.

    Good luck with your journey.

  5. “You never know how strong you are until you become a lesser version of yourself.”

    What a knock-out of a post. Thank you so much for writing and sharing <3

  6. thank you for sharing.

    (are you into Law of Attraction at all?)
    you say above that you know your mind is always listening. an idea i’d like to throw out is— in your replacing “my body hates me” with – your body is trying. your body is healing… — you get stuck in the process… get stuck always trying, always healing. never healed. maybe substitute “my body is ok today” or focus on a part of your body that IS ok “my legs feel strong.” or “AT LEAST MY HAIR IS FAN-EFFING-TASTIC.”

    the above is totally over simplified. I’m not an expert on the above. i’ve never been so sick as to question who I was, so I quite literally can’t imagine being in your shoes. so please please please feel free to ignore.

    sending you nothing but the best wishes. so SO happy for you that new-you was able to fulfill an old-you dream.

    • My repeat internal mantra is “my body is healing” <3<3 but externally, I joke my body hates me-- and then tell myself to stop 😉

  7. Kelli Hart Reply

    This brought tears to my eyes. I have been following your blog silently for about 10 months since I’ve come home from the hospital post cdiff. I’m blessed by it. And have too seen the joys and stress of a slow recovery process. I can feel every word you have written in this post, I feel like you read my heart aloud. And for this, I thank you. For sharing and saying what others dont understand. May God continue to bless you and your family amazingly in this journey/process. <3

  8. This post hits so close to home i cannot even begin to explain…..I have been following you ever since I stumbled upon an article your wrote for Mind Body Green about C-Diff…1 week after I was diagnosed with it! I got it also because of antibiotics and after reading that article i have been hooked on your site, your words, your inspiration. You influenced me to switch to vegan, and live a more simple, balanced, peaceful lifestyle. After hearing from c-diff along with multiple “auto-immunize” related symptoms I also struggled with the idea of the old me vs. what i am today. How hard it is to let that go, and also let go of the “I’m healing idea” or that my body was against me the whole time. Our bodies are not attacking ourselves, they are doing quite the opposite. They love us unconditionally and always have our back (thank you medical medium). Thank you for making us including myself feel less alone in this whole process. Sickness is scary. Healing is scary. So is the unknown. But the unknown is what can also be your saving grace!
    Oh and BTW i think we are birthday buddies!!!! If you were born on March 11th than you have a bday buddy in me:)

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  10. You touch me with this… I’ve been following your posts for years, but this one struck me hard. I’m also struggling with the question of “who am I?” . It’s been a hard couple of years thanks to stress related issues and depression. I’m now supposedly coming out of that tunnel, but I no longer recognize myself and that is a hard thing to deal with.
    And with this piece you have read into my mind and soul. I mean: “I (also) used to be braver. I (also) used to be stronger. I (also) used to be funny. I (also) used to be happier. I (also) used to be FUN. I (also) used to be motivated. I (also) used to be witty and quick. I (also) used to be capable… able, less needy. I (also) used to be creative. I (also) used to be reliable. I (also) used to be confident. I (also) used to be… me”
    Thank you, Drea for always being so honest and sharing your feelings with us. Reading this (and some comments) made me feel less weird and less alone, and that, I really appreciate.
    I guess, like you, I’m going to have to work on being ok with who I am now, who I’ve become. And love the process.
    Always love the process, no matter how hard it is.
    Sending you lots of love and healing vibes.

  11. This post brings tears to my eyes, as many of your post-c diff posts have. I am just 3 months post c diff. I came down with it 1 month after having my first (and now I think possibly my only) child. I too have learned the blessing and curse of antibiotics. It has been the hardest time of my life. So much fear, so much dreaming of happier times, of wishing the time away but feeling so sad that I feel that way. I stand with you, in hopes for victory and peace. Much love.

    • ugh more and more women are getting it after child birth. I can’t imagine dealing with c. diff + having to care for a newborn. Must be so hard. I hope you feel better sooner rather than later! also, im not sure you’re age or any info about you– but I feel like if I did have c. diff earlier I would/could possibly attempt pregnancy– c. diff def. doesn’t make you infertile. I’m just at the stage my life where that time has passed for me and I know im better not to do it. there’s def. hope for you <3

  12. This is beautiful. You are a beautiful person–who you were, and who you are. And who you’re becoming!

  13. Hi! I am so thankful to have read this post today. I am currently battling c diff and I do mean battling. 5 months ago I gave birth to my second child and was a healthy 31 year old woman. After a round of antibiotics my life is completely changed forever. I know I will never be the same again. I am currently on vancomycin and it feels like I may never heal. I have lost my self. This sickness steals all the life and joy you have. Your post has given me some hope even though I know this is going to be a long healing process at least I’m not the only one experiencing it. I would love to hear more about your diet.

    • im so sorry about your experience Rachel– it’s hard for sure. you will get life back again. a changed life, but life. I have an entire section on the blog dedicated to healing and to what I eat. both are under the wellness tab <3 currently doing a juice/fruit cleanse--- it helps a lot!

  14. I feel these feels SO HARD. I have suddenly changed twice in my life, both in response to intense trauma. It’s weird feeling like in order for people to know you they have to know the before and the after, they have to know WHY you feel so odd or different. Sometimes I say the most awkward things referencing my dear sister or who I was before then. Everytime I have the smallest illness now I get hyper concerned that I’ll be sick forever or die. Girl. I feel these feels. ♥️💙💜

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