Some lessons I learned from having a physical disability are similar to those of Randolph Bourne, who wrote an essay titled "The Handicapped" in 1911. Here's one of his pieces of advice: "I would say—Grow up as fast as you can. Cultivate the widest interests you can, and cherish all your friends. Cultivate some artistic talent, for you will find it the most durable of satisfactions, and perhaps one of the surest means of livelihood as well. Achievement is, of course, on the knees of the gods; but you will at least have the thrill of trial, and, after all, not to try is to fail" (pp. 68-69 of The Best American Essays of the Century).
Darla Nagel is an editor and writing tutor who has an invisible chronic illness. She wants to help other patients and enlighten health care professionals about our experiences. If you’d like to be alerted whenever she writes a new post, sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darla copyedits biomedical research while living with an invisible chronic illness.