Rick-I am also 23. I am very lucky I have a man in my life that is sticking by my side through everything. Unfortunately my parents have never been supportive in anything and they don't even know about the lupus. I don't have many friends and nobody around me understands the pain and frustration I am going through.
Life sucks, play it hard. I hope things get better for you, thoughts and prayers always.
It's only just 2010, you have 10 months to sort stuff. I'm 20, got diagnosed when i was 18/19, and it's so hard to cope with at first, as it seems like a life sentence, but it only is if you make it that way. Admittedly it's hard to alter your lifestyle, I'm currently at University and I wanted to go into investment banking but I know I simply can't even though i've spent most my teens doing stuff to get me into it. So instead i've focused on other interests of mine, and I'm gonna go into research where it's more flexible and I can work around my illness.
I've had a particularly bad patch at the moment where I'm getting loads of tests done, and I know somethings up as I'm feeling a lot worse, but I know it's important to keep on trying, even though it might seem pointless, it's really not because today is as valuable as tomorrow, so even if you don't reach your career goals, social goals etc, at least you've tried them, and challenged yourself.
I know it might seem really really s*** at the moment but just try to re-adjust your focus on to something else positive, because theres always something
I was diagnosed with SLE in 2004. My girlfriend of 6 years and soon to be my wife. told me she needed a man in her life with a future, not some guy who would probably be dead in a year or two. She left. I had finally become a successful small business owner, and had to quit and sell the business. All my friends stopped coming around. My life went from awesome, to total shit in a matter of months. I know how you feel.
I started a new life in a new place. I have new friends who accept the limitations Lupus places upon me. I have new interests and hobbies to replace activities that I could no longer do. I've even started dating again. Met an attractive young lady who has similar interests, we'll see where it goes.
Anyway, my point is, things will get better for you. I know it sucks right now, but you can get your life back on track and thrive despite Lupus. It took me a couple of years to adjust and accept the loss, but things are good now. Hang in there, you can learn to adjust to it all, it's just going to take a little time, and alot of work. I was 36 when I was diagnosed, and I managed to bounce back. If an old fart like me can do it, you can too.