How to deal with cards I have been dealt?
June 30, 2014 5:52 PM Subscribe
I was always a very high achiever but in my late teens, I was diagnosed with a debilitating chronic illness. I spent most of my 20s severely limited. In my mid 30s now and still struggling with the feeling that life is unfair.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I managed to graduate and even do some post-grad studies. It all took ages because my energy is very limited and most of my symptoms are chronic pain and exhaustion that is completely invisible. I longed to have a normal life so I often pushed and ignored my symptoms and made myself a lot worse.
It's a catch 22. When I listen to my body's limits, I feel nearly totally physically fine. Psychologically, I am miserable and can't stop grieving my missed potential. When I push myself beyond my limits, my happiness is short lived because I get too ill to enjoy my achievements.
I had a few boyfriends that reacted negatively to my illness. They didn't know how to deal with it. Perhaps I wasn't explaining it properly or perhaps they just didn't care enough to understand and stay. I have a large circle of superficial friends and none of them know that I am sick. I always felt that my illness made people uncomfortable so I just stopped telling them. In a way, I almost prefer to ignore it when I am out and don't feel like it's this oppressive weight hanging over everything. I don't want people's pity. In general, people and animals and babies love me. If there are any positives, my illness made me kind and emphatic towards others. I never had problems making friends, it's more me that keeps the friendships casual and keeps people at arm's length. I often feel like there is this invisible wall between me and rest of the world.
Currently I work full time in a job that I enjoy. What nobody knows is that I need to rest nearly all the time I am off work and that I have no social life. If I do go out once in a blue moon, I pay the heavy price of increased pain and fatigue. Even if I met my dream guy tomorrow (and it's very unrealistic given that I don't go out) - I wouldn't be able to cope with energy demands of a relationship.
A part time job wouldn't give me financial independence that I need and I can't let the illness take that away from me. And for what? One in a million chance that I may meet someone?
I guess I am not sure how to deal with any of this. I don't know how and in what way I can accept that I am ill, that I can't do what normal people can. I tried going to support groups but socializing with ill people depressed me even more. Any words of wisdom?