I believe that there is power in suffering and chronic illness because it’s in these times of pure vulnerability that we learn how to overcome what seems the ‘impossible’, not just for ourselves but for others too.

By experiencing our own pain of “hitting the wall”, we can understand and care for the pain of others. In our chronic illness journeys, we encourage each other to keep fighting, to continue learning, to never give up – but we rarely talk about “the wall”.

After almost 27 years of fighting EDS, I know I’m not the only one who has been here and certainly know I’ll be faced with it again. Each time I hit the wall, I’m faced with the same question: Will I pick myself up and continue my journey? My answer: Absolutely. Remember the time when you didn’t think you could carry on? And, here you are.

Because it’s our mental resilience which makes the world what it is for us. Our thoughts make things better, or our thoughts make things worse. No matter how many pep talks you’re given, ultimately it is down to you and your mind to choose your own direction and determine your own steps.

It’s not all about finishing the race because those with chronic illnesses with no cure, there is no finish line. I choose to focus my energy on making it to the next mile or ‘checkpoint’ – dismantling one surgery, one appointment, one blood test, one dystonia, one pressure headache, one pill, – one “wall” at a time.

So if you’re feeling the struggle and have hit that “wall” it’s ok. Know that it’s just a part of the process. Remember that this moment of complete overwhelmed exhaustion and struggle won’t last forever. So many have been here before, and they all made it through, just like you will. So keep your focus on your next ‘checkpoint’ just like you’ve done before, continuing on something far greater than a marathon – our journey called ‘life’.

When sharing our medical journeys we allow others to see what we make out of our struggles. We give ourselves the chance to share our journey with those who have been a part of it too. Your experience of overcoming the “wall”, they get to experience too – and I believe there’s nothing more powerful than that 💫

To read more about Mind Body EDS charity’s experience and runner (John Thompson) in the London Marathon, click here.

• Laura Lee •