Until my physical ailments began worsening rapidly in my late 40s, I was a high achiever, proud of my "kick ass" attitude, thinking I was so competent I could surmount any challenge life threw at me. Life appeared to be straightforward, and I didn't understand why this didn't seem to be the case for so many other less fortunate folks. Though I worked hard for my accomplishments and sometimes struggled, there ...

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When I recently read the phrase, “I’m embarrassed to be sick,” it made my stomach clench and my breath catch.  That's exactly what I've been feeling: this vague sense of social unease even with close friends, a reluctance to be seen or even talk to people--especially those that knew me before I became chronically ill.

At the age of 55, after a lifetime of seemingly ...

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