Looking at myself now, my younger self never would have expected me to be where I am. Recalling my younger years, I remember having anxiety about being alone when I grew up. I always thought I’d have a hard time finding a partner and that my dating life would be close to nonexistent. But — surprise, surprise — here I am today, happy with my wife, Cza, and our almost 2-month-old baby, Citrine.
It’s funny how a young mind will play with you. I grew up in an all-boys school and remember high school as a place where people bragged about having girlfriends who were pretty, popular, and smart. It’s always been a popularity contest, and my juvenile self always felt left behind. Back then, I had little luck finding a partner, which made me feel sad and lonely. I felt as if I should settle for less than what I wanted. I was afraid of being alone and I wanted a partner, even at the expense of not being truly happy.
Having hemophilia and epilepsy crippled me with fear because I thought no one would choose me. In a world with fully functional men and women, I saw myself as a broken toy. I didn’t believe I would fit anyone’s standard. I have shared these thoughts with some of my friends in the Philippines hemophilia association HAPLOS, and funnily enough, many other members have felt the same way.
The time I truly felt like a broken toy was when I experienced my second breakup during my sophomore year in college. For the longest time, I had the support of my then-partner, so it devastated me and filled me with fear when we broke up. It seemed as if I had lost one of the people who had filled me with confidence and happiness. And once again, I felt alone. I sought comfort in my friends, hoping I would find the support I needed. But I also felt like a burden to others. Hemophilia had made me feel lonely, as if I were an outcast during the part of my life when I was supposed to be experimenting, goofing off, and having fun.
I also remember the rejection. My self-esteem would crash upon hearing the word “no” so often when asking people out. Dating is hard for many, but with chronic illnesses, I think it’s significantly harder. In a world that focuses on high standards and obsessively finding an idyllic partner, it’s hard not to succumb to a mild depression caused by fear and loneliness.
However, that situation won’t always be the case. There are always people who are willing to accept others like me who have chronic illnesses. I’m extremely blessed to have someone like Cza. I am truly grateful that people like her exist. With so much pain, suffering, and loneliness, people like Cza serve as beacons of positivity and hope and make us feel that we’re accepted and loved.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.