The Worst Part of Being Chronically Ill
There are many aspects that make being chronically ill very tough to deal with. For example, brain fog, which turns your brain into, basically, a pile of mush. As an academic, I struggle with this one a lot because it becomes nearly impossible to write, or to write as flowery and beautifully as I used to. It also ruins my ability to remember anything from lessons and readings. Another example is the pain, obviously, which wears me down and tears me apart. It makes living unbearable occasionally, and uncomfortable the rest of the time.
But, the most awkward and upsetting part of being chronically ill is probably the fact that I have become a boring person.
Of course, this is not to say that every person with a chronic illness is boring; in fact, the chronically ill people I know and have met are some of the brightest and most fun people I have ever known. But, for me, it is something that affects me more than any of the other symptoms of my illness. It is the worst part of being ill.
For me, my pain has taken over my whole life. If I am not in bed sleeping the day away, I am too exhausted to do simple tasks such as spending a couple of hours out with my friends. My friends, the ones who are not chronically ill, will drink all night, dance, party and have fun. Meanwhile, I will stay for a couple of drinks, sit the whole time and probably joke about how I will have to spend the next few days in recovery just from going out. The worst part about it is that I am excited to go out and will spend two hours getting ready, only to be ready to go home an hour after I get out the door.
Not only does it make me a boring friend, because I also struggle with depression, along with several other mental illnesses, I also have the unfortunate problem of not having any real hobbies. The activities I enjoy are too painful for me to do on a consistent basis (such as writing, cooking or needlework, something I have not done in ages), and my depression makes it nearly impossible for me to take joy in whatever I participate in.
Most of what I do nowadays, when I am not sleeping, is sit on the computer or read. Making new friends is difficult because I generally avoid public situations, and when I find a friend who understands what is wrong with me, it feels like such a relief if I ever have to cancel on them.
I find myself more frustrated than anything else because I desperately wish I were able to interact with new people, find new passions and be the fiery person I used to be when I was not ill. That person is gone, and sometimes it still hurts to think about.
Getty Image by AntonioGuillem