Being chronically ill is a lonely business. I wonder if everyone else who is chronically ill feels this way. I’m sure everyone doesn’t, but I wonder if most people do.
My “peers” are all married, in relationships, and having families. Meanwhile, I’m sitting at work struggling through pain to keep my job or I’m home fighting my body and fatigue to finish basic household chores everyone else takes for granted. I feel like I’m lagging behind…losing ground. Everyone else is advancing with their goals and their lives and I’m stagnating.
Marinating in a job that doesn’t interest me. In a pseudo-relationship with a man who seems only partly committed. Struggling against my illness to maintain my house. Others think I struggle because I’m female, but that’s not the case. I struggle because my immune system is consuming me and nothing makes it stop. Fatigue. Constant pain. Swelling. Nothing makes it stop.
Say Jonathan wanted to marry me. This would be our second marriage. He has two kids. I’m incapable of having kids and I have a debilitating illness. How long would that marriage last? Suffering for debilitating pain and requiring my partner to care for me, how long can I expect any relationship to last?
This is the worst part of chronic disease. It’s not the pain or other symptoms, but the result of suffering from so much pain. This is the toll of talking about it.