Do You Feel Like You Have Lost Your Identity Because of Illness?

When illness seems to eat away at our identity, where can we still be who we are and celebrate it? Laura shares.

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)

Who is at risk of losing their identity in more ways than one? Someone with a disability can feel like they lost it figuratively. And can fear losing it literally.

Recently, I went to my optometrist appointment.

I reported, “I got new insurance since my last visit. Do you need to see my Medicare card?”

“No. We already have your Social Security number.”

I thought, How do they have my social security number? I don’t remember giving it to them!

Like others, I’m careful not to disclose my Social Security number unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s bad enough I feel my identity slipping away as my illness impacts my life. I don’t need identity theft to threaten my personal information.

Ever since my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), it seems everyone needs information regarding my identity. Social Security Administration for disability benefits, specialists for medical records, etc.

If MS doesn’t wear me out, the endless paperwork will! I’ve lost count of the numerous forms I’ve filled out. Each year I visit a specialist, I have to update my information. I’m given several pages to complete. I know I should take them seriously, but sometimes humor is in order.

I amuse myself by pretending I’m reading a restaurant menu. Let’s see. . . I’ll take five of these tests. Three of these conditions. Hold the predispositions due to family history–Don’t worry. I provide all the necessary info.

I’m hesitant to give critical information to anyone who asks. Can you blame me? There are horror stories of identities being stolen.

But I don’t have to fear losing the identity God gave me.

Has MS stolen who I am? No! Nothing can interfere with the work my Creator did, is doing, and will do. He formed me. Is conforming me to His image. And one day in heaven, He’ll transform me.

Thankfully, I’m not just a Social Security number to God. He knows my name and everything about me—my thoughts, fears, needs, hopes, and dreams. He protects who I am and what He’s invested in me. He’s shaping my life and teaching me lessons I can share with others.

Prayer: Dear Father, Thank You that You know me so well. You know my every thought before I think it. You number the hairs on my head. Thank You for sending Your Son so my name can be written in Your book of life. Help me not live in fear of having my personal information stolen. Fill me afresh with Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness.

Did you ever feel like you were drowning in medical paperwork? What or who did God use as His life preserver to rescue you?

This song, “Remind Me Who I Am” is Jason Gray, a Christian artist. On Wikipedia I read that he deals with a stutter, which is why many of his songs emphasize finding strength in weakness. I hope you enjoy this young man. -Lisa