Chronic illness is a funny thing. You don’t really think about it until you or someone you care about experiences this bane. (And is it just me are more and more people dealing with this stuff these days?) And then you find out some odd things that no doctor ever mentions:
- It can make you a little crazy. The stress from sleeplessness, weird symptoms, side effects from medication, and a bunch of other things can make us all a little crazy. Strange things bug us. Tempers can be short. We also can become germophobes and hypochondriacs as the result of being scared to death of becoming more ill than we already are. Every, little twinge or tingle feels like it must be the onset of something much, much worse.
- The anxiety can be crushing. Paralyzing. One minute your fine and the next minute you feel like you can’t walk another step or you’re going to collapse and die. And it feels that intense sometimes. Then you think you’re crazy and you’re embarrassed to admit to anyone that you can’t leave the house today because your legs and your head just can’t seem to get in sync.
- People around you won’t understand most of the time. You tend to look perfectly fine unless they know you well enough to spot the small cues that something is wrong. And that’s OK. It’s not your job to make them understand. It is your job to make sure you’re safe and as mentally sound as you can be at the moment.
- You desperately want to feel “normal.” And you forget what “normal” feels like. I used to daydream about being normal, again. Every time someone would invite me to travel or to go to dinner on a “bad” day, I would feel awful because not only couldn’t I go, I couldn’t go because of something I had no control over. It was controlling me! In some respects it still controls me which is, again, embarrassing.
- You’re not alone. The nice thing about being in the internet age is that although we are wont to crawl into bed and not come out for another five years (doesn’t that sound lovely?), we can still connect with others in similar circumstances online. It’s helpful to be just a little bit anonymous and yet to get some encouragement and some extremely helpful advice from those who had gone before us. If you haven’t already joined an online chat or message board site for your brand of illness or chronic illness in general, it is highly recommended!
What are some things you discovered in the midst of chronic illness?