No one wants to be around a sick person

sickboring This post may be a bit victim-y, but oh well.  No one wants to be around a sick person.  You learn this very quickly when you become ill.  I mean, I’m sick and evendon’t want to be around other people who are chronically ill.  I considered going to a Lyme-support group (and I still may), but then I thought of the last time I interacted with someone who also had Lyme disease, and it left me feeling even worse.  I absolutely felt for the woman, she had been through so much, but talking with her, I couldn’t wait to get away. I’m trying to stay hopeful, and the reality is that the energy of illness is, well, depressing. Let’s just say it.  I even want to get away from myself! sick It is one thing to be around someone who has a cold, or the flu.  You may even feel inspired to make them chicken soup and wrap them up in blankets!  Perhaps they’d like a warm cup of tea?  It is completely another to be around someone who has a chronic illness- and, those of us suffering with such a thing are hyper-aware of this. You notice how people’s reactions change.  How people slowly fade away.  And, it isn’t entirely their fault.  I think a lot of us push people away, or isolate to such a degree that we lose connections- they are just as so hard to maintain when mustering up the energy for a simple phone call with an old friend seems as difficult as climbing Everest.  You have 20 food allergies, so of course you can’t meet for dinner.  You can’t consume alcohol or caffeine, so no thanks to meeting for drinks.  Go see a movie?  Crowds give me anxiety and the lighting hurts my eyes.  Go for a hike?  Well, are you willing to carry me the entire way after 1/4th of a mile?  Kayaking? I’m assuming tandem and you’ll do you all the paddling?  Or, the fun fact that with Lyme disease our neurotransmitters are often all sorts of f*cked up, especially dopamine, so we can experience a decrease in the pleasure typically associated with being social.  Sigh.  The list goes on. And, when your illness is largely invisible, people don’t understand why you can’t be just like you were before getting sick. And why can our illness be so invisible?  It may be that we look ‘normal,’ but I think there is more than it to that.  I think we do our very best to act normal, to present ourselves as functioning and fine, because it is the only way we can get by in a society that stigmatizes illness.  People get uncomfortable when we ‘show’ that we are sick.  They feel some sense of responsibility, or fear, or a myriad of other things that make them just want to turn away.  45a6e1437a1dadc6535fcffe367159afWhat everyone dealing with chronic illness needs, more than ANYTHING, is a strong support system.  People who do their best to understand and help, people who won’t back away.  People who will listen and ask how you are REALLY doing, and offer to buy you groceries when you can’t get out of bed. cat People who won’t constantly tell you stay positive, or that there is a lesson in all of this, or that, if you just meditated more or got out more or ate this or did that.  Who aren’t offended when you blabber on about your symptoms and your fears. People who let you FEEL and work through things and SUPPORT you every step of the way. It’s not that we need to wallow in our sadness all the time, or find people who allow us to exist in a victim mentality- it is just simply that we need people who respect our experience instead of compound the issue by disappearing on us. Can you tell I have personal experience with this?  I feel like very slowly, person by person, I have essentially been abandoned since becoming sick.  People stop calling, stop checking in.  No one ever wants to talk about the fact that I am sick.  They want to dance around it and pretend it isn’t happening.  And that is for their comfort, not mine. I was bitter about this for a long time, and, obviously, I still am to a degree.  But as I find myself coming more into a place of acceptance, I’m realize that so much of this journey through illness is something I have to do on my own.  I need to go inside, connect, fight, travel through this, in many ways, alone… Image result for some walks you have to take alone ….Or….well, in my case, I suppose with cats 🙂