Dear Crohn’s,

It’s no secret that you and I have had a rocky relationship. I’ve hated you more often than not, and on many occasions, I’ve cursed the day I met you. You have destroyed so many things in my life, stolen so many dreams. You have abused me physically and emotionally and spent all of my money and then some. Perhaps worst of all, you have kept me subdued with drugs, starved, and chained to a toilet, weak, hopeless, barely living. You have owned me, body, mind, and soul.

It is no secret that I have hated you. I used to think you were the devil. I know you won’t give up your hold on me easily, but I have to tell you that I’m leaving you now. I also want you to know that I no longer hate you. I no longer think you are the devil. They say over time hostages start to identify with their captors. Perhaps that’s all that has happened here, but I want you to know that while I will no longer allow you to control or subdue me, and while I hope to leave you behind and never see you again, I have also come to love you for all that you have taught me.

There are secrets in this world—about life, about love and living and magic—so much is going on under our noses that’s only visible through lenses of deep suffering. In the time we have spent together, you have taken so much from me, but you have given me eyes to see what others cannot, a heart to love what others would not. I love you for this if I hate you for everything else you have done. I curse the day I met you, but I don’t regret our time together, and I would not trade the lessons you have taught me or the things you have shown me about the universe for any other life.

It will take me a long time to recover from the ravages of your abuse, and I expect that no matter how much time and distance I put between us, evidence of your perversions will show in me always. I have forgiven you for that because more importantly, the evidence of your lessons—your toughest of loves—will also be with me always, glowing from within me, a strange and beautiful light.

I have loved you perhaps to the puzzlement of all others, but I truly have. Regardless of this, I know you are not good for me, and I can’t be yours any longer. I have chewed through my leash, and my chains have rusted away.

I am leaving you now.

Carolyn