Being sick is not easy.
Being sick is not easy.
I’m honestly feeling really sad today and I’ve been really sad for a while now. I’m just sad that I’m sick. I’m sad that this is my life and I’m sad that things are so unpredictable right now. It seems like on January 1st, 2023 everyone celebrated the brand new year. They were making plans, celebrating, and hopeful for the year ahead. While others were celebrating I was at the ER dealing with symptoms I thought would get better on their own. It had only been one day since I noticed the bulk of the symptoms and less than two weeks since they had started. Surely this is just but a bump in the road. Instead of healing, getting better, and regaining my strength, I regressed, got worse, and was left bed bound. I’m heartbroken.
I’m 25 years old and I can’t walk my dog, work, drive, attend church, hang out with friends, or support myself financially. I rely on my parents for everything. They pay my bills, purchase my medications, drive me to appointments, and supply the house with food. They even purchased my mobility aid. My freedom has now turned into full dependency.
I spend all of my time under the weight of a life lived with loss. I’m reminded every time I stand that my heart isn’t working properly. I’m reminded every time my chest hurts that there is a mass that lives in my lung. Every time I faint I’m reminded that my autonomic nervous system isn’t functioning properly. Every time I take my temperature and find that I have yet another fever I’m reminded that my immune system is attacking itself and is unable to fight off infections as it should.
When one may find themselves overwhelmed with something they can take steps to avoid that thing, or take steps to remedy that thing. My body is with me whether I like it or not. I can’t separate myself from it and I can’t make it do what it’s currently unable to do. I can’t take a break or explore other options when I decide I’ve had enough. How do you make peace with something you never saw coming and something you never wanted?
Being sick isn’t easy. Being trapped in a body that doesn’t work properly isn’t easy. Being home for months on end unable to do many basic things isn’t easy. Feeling ill and exhausted on top of feeling sick mentally (usually because of or heightened by your physical illness) isn’t easy. Feeling powerless to take care of myself and my responsibilities like bills isn’t easy. Watching life pass me by, while I am forced to rest in bed isn’t easy. This journey is changing the way I look at life, chronic illness, and mental illness. And if I’m being honest, it’s the hardest thing I’ve had to endure and it’s something only other chronically ill people can truly relate to.
I don’t share any of the stuff I do for pity, I get enough of that from myself. (Working on that but the grieving process is real) I want others to see chronic illness through another lens. Before I found myself chronically ill it looked like chronically ill people just got to lay around all day at watch tv. But what you don’t see is swollen joints, extreme fatigue, chronic pain, mental fog and numbness, mental illness, malaise, allergic reactions, headaches with vision disturbances, dizziness, fainting, seizures, dehydration, nausea, endless medications, and much more. We are quite honestly fighting for our lives. Some literally (because their illness is terminal) and some figuratively. It's all very real and very scary.
If you ever have questions about someone and/or their chronic illness(es) never feel wrong to ask questions. Please be patient and full of grace.