We all know what it's like to be sidelined in life. Sometimes it's money or losing a job, and now many are feeling the effects of COVID-19. It's a constant feeling of sitting in the passenger's seat of the car alternating between full speed and hitting the brakes for the people in the sick community. It's an isolating feeling when your sickness throws new things at you, be it a small flare-up or a bad day or getting booted off the playing field with a massive flare, a new medication with awful side effects, an injury, or something else. All invisible illnesses and rare diseases are unique, and with that comes different struggles and pains. It's an odd handful of painful fibromyalgia days, lousy stomach days, a day off of a medication that sends me into an emotional spiral, a debilitating dislocation/subluxation, horrible dizziness or nausea from POTS, or something of the sort. Some flares are only days while others and some result in weeks laid up in bed. It feels nearly impossible to keep my like on track. I continuously fall off the wagon, color me a three-time college dropout that's an unemployed adult with no driver's license.
Where I am right now is the result of the terminal tackle that sidelined me. Only a little more than a year ago, at seventeen, my entire life fell to pieces. Without warning in months, everything I had worked for ripped away from me, it was like watching a bomb explode in slow motion, and nobody in my life could do anything but watch. I had worked for years, putting forty plus hours a week into my training; on top of school, I attended dance class upon dance class. I put everything into dance; it was my safe space. In dance, my OCD and depression fell away; it was my safe place. Until it wasn't.
I vividly remember the day I got in my step dad's car while my dance class was still going on behind me, I didn't remember the past hour, or why I was even leaving early. The following week a similar experience occurred. I told my mom, "I don't feel up to conditioning today, I just need to go and be a part of the team." Not one to sit out, I pushed myself to participate. I woke up on the floor mid pushups with the music blaring, having passed out without my teacher noticing (the assumption I was taking a breaking). These memories play over in my mind as I contemplate how I got here. Shortly after these incidents, I had to quit dance. I had to forfeit my college plans and every dream I had of going pro. I missed my last dance showcase, the one where I should have been the show's star. Not only was I deprived of the chance to chase my dreams, but I lost many friends as well. So who was I? The consolation prize for my efforts a shackle attaching me to my bed. A combination of defeat, confusion, and no energy, my hope faded.
A year later, I'm lucky enough to have a diagnosis and a family who helps support me and pays my doctor bills, but I don't know what I'm doing. I can't get a job or hold down community college classes, but I'm here. I'm sharing my story and trying. And sometimes, when you're sidelined, trying is all you can do.