How Lupus Shook My Identity

By Janice Jensen
Updated 2024-04-03 11:13:39 | Published 2020-10-26 03:43:25
  • Lupus
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    • Our Lupus section on the iMedix Blog provides comprehensive insights into living with and managing lupus. Find articles discussing symptoms, treatments, and lifestyle tips, aimed at assisting patients, their families, and medical professionals in understanding and handling this autoimmune disease effectively.

woman looking in mirror

People are increasingly recognizing the importance of understanding their own identity, including factors such as gender, social class, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion, and age. The traditional concept of labeling individuals in fixed categories is being challenged as we acknowledge the complex intersections of these identities.

For me, my lupus diagnosis in 2010 caused me to question and reconsider who I am. At the same time, I got married, and these two major events in my life were intertwined. Initially, I felt ashamed and tried to hide my illness from everyone except close family and friends. I didn't want to be associated with the identity of a patient and instead focused on my new roles as a wife and a career woman.

Unknowingly, I was striving to live up to unrealistic expectations as an Afro-Caribbean-American woman who was also disabled. I ignored the growing fatigue and pain that my illness brought. Living with an invisible illness means that the true extent of my struggles often goes unnoticed. It disrupts every aspect of my life, from my independence to my ability to work, socialize, and achieve my goals.

Lupus affected my sense of purpose and how I saw myself within my marriage and society. I felt a deep loss and mourned the person I used to be. Grief, isolation, and invisibility weighed heavily on me during this process. If you are experiencing these feelings, know that you deserve better.

There is no easy way to navigate the process of redefining oneself while living with lupus. It requires a willingness to let go of the past and unhealthy ideas about being sick. I began to embrace my journey with lupus instead of avoiding it. I realized that I could change my narrative, just like the unpredictable nature of my illness.

By surrendering and accepting my circumstances, I have embarked on a new chapter of healing, both spiritually and mentally. I have also found strength in connecting with others and serving my community. Although my body still has its limitations, I find gratitude in every moment. There are certain truths that lupus cannot change: I am a unique and valuable individual, not defined solely by my illness. My worth is not up for negotiation, and I have the power to thrive wherever I am planted.

Instead of focusing on the permanence of lupus, I am embracing the possibilities of who I can become with this condition. My journey toward self-discovery involves navigating the interplay between my health, social influences, and all the challenges life throws at me. I am choosing to rewrite my story, and I invite you to do the same.

Janice Jensen is verified user for iMedix