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Ten Minutes

February 25, 2022 • 10 min read
Ten Minutes
By, Haley Duff
I know you want to help.
I hope you want to help.
I can see it in your eyes, “she’s back”.
You’re sorry you don’t know how to fix my broken.
You let me confide though into the 10 minutes that I am allotted…
10 minutes?
To explain to you the tens of thousands of days and moments where the pain is so unbearable it takes all of my being
and all of my breath just to crawl out of bed and slump into a hot shower.
Where the fatigue feels like the weight of all of the bills and pills and years of tears piled onto my “longing for my past life” body.
10 minutes?
To explain to you that I am indeed seeking the things that they say I MUST be seeking; the attention, the pills, the drama, the time and the sympathy.
However, not in the way ignorance leads us to believe.
I am indeed what they label me to be, but not in the way they may think.
I am a seeker.
Because when everyday feels like the aftermath of a terrible, no-good, very bad
day, the kind you can’t escape from;
you too would find that sometimes the only way to find relief is to SEEK.
To seek the attention that your body is longing for.
To seek the sick that they say you don’t have enough of, or you have too much of.
To seek the strength that they tell you to always maintain, “Stay strong, you’re strong, how can you be so strong you’re an inspiration for just surviving even though you have no other choice you.”
To seek the image that makes your reality, your every waking moment, believable enough to the masses.
Because when your pain and sickness is invisible, you are labeled a seeker of so many things, so many bad things.
I am indeed what they label me to be, but not in the way they may think…
I am a seeker.
A seeker of answers, a seeker of relief, a seeker of the pills that I need to carry in order to carry on through impossible days and nights.
A seeker of 10 minutes of your 10 dollars a minute worth of attention.
A seeker of the day when I am not anxiously waiting for that angry note to appear on my windshield as I drag my feet across the concrete back to my “You are obviously not handicapped” parking spot.
Holding tight to my “Have you tried yoga? That’s too many pills” prescription.
I am indeed a seeker.
A seeker of the humanity that I try so hard to convince myself I deserve.
I am a seeker of a doctor who understands that I don’t get to leave the office at the end of the day, turn off the lights, and take my mind off of work.
You see, my office is a breaking body where the doors are bolted shut and the lights are endlessly flickering, trying to find the energy to just stay bright, while knowing that giving up is just not an option.
I am a seeker of the most convoluted yet simplistic things, that are seemingly the most difficult to find. I am a seeker of understanding and compassion.
I am a seeker of a white coat wearing, doctorate yielding, SOMEONE to fight for me.
I am a seeker of the things that I know I deserve, but that I will still spend 7 long days reinforcing and reminding myself of until I can make it back to the couch of the therapist who reminds me that I am allowed to be a seeker.
So 10 minutes?
Can I have 10 minutes to allow you the opportunity to fight for more than just 10 minutes?
10 minutes for you to realize that I have been fighting for longer than 10 minutes.
I have been seeking for longer than 10 minutes, and you are now a part of what I’ve sought.
You get to be a part of my search.
A part of my, dare I say, healing.
So please don’t take my seeking lightly.
Please don’t take these 10 minutes lightly.
Poem by Author Haley Duff, age 26 (2022)
Dx: Stills Disease, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a debilitating disease that weakens the connective tissues of your body. EDS can make your joints loose and your skin thin. It also can weaken blood vessels and organs. For most it takes many years to get a diagnosis. EDS is considered a rare disease and it often mimics many other more common disorders. This means that we are often told by medical professionals that the symptoms will “clear up soon”, and we are written off and sent home.
For me, it took about 4 years to get a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I was 23 when I was finally diagnosed. It’s genetic so I have had subtle symptoms since birth. It took hundreds of doctors’ appointments, tons of twists and turns and countless medication changes. It’s exhausting and we need to talk about it more. We need medical professionals to talk about us more!

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