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When Chronic Illness Makes You Feel Jealous of Others' Accomplishments

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There are many times when I am told about someone’s life — what they’re doing, what they’ve done, their plans for the future — and, be it family member, friend or complete stranger, I get absolutely sick with jealousy. Like, actual jealousy, not envy, and that’s even worse. Somehow, when I hear about other people’s accomplishments, I feel like they’re taking away my own.

When you have a chronic illness, your accomplishments move in slow motion. You have to allow time for your body to catch up and heal before you can move on to your next project, sometimes before even moving to the next step of the one you’re on. And trust me, you can’t bypass the rest time. I’ve tried. If you don’t stop, your body will make you stop.

If I can just stay within my own ill little world, I can manage. I don’t think about things too much. I do what I can, rest when I need to and just keep moving at my own pace. I usually get a lot more done when I’m in that world, but it often gets burst open. I get news of a friend’s college acceptance, or see pictures of people full of energy, seemingly thriving in life, and it coats my eyes like dust. I can’t see properly, it hurts, and the more I try to rub it out, the worse it gets. I can’t see what I was doing anymore, only what they’re doing, and I certainly can’t remember why I was doing it.

The images of other people’s dreams glue themselves over my own, and suddenly they’re my dreams, too. Of course, they’re not really, but they seem like the only worthwhile ones to have, so I obsess over them, dwell on them until I am truly miserable. I’m getting better at bringing myself out of this, but most often, the remedy is just time. Eventually, my own passions push through again, demand to be heard. I remember I am ill, but I am not dead. I am alive and conscious, and though I cannot do as much as I could if I had all my health, I can do something.

And so I do. Lots of little somethings, and I watch as they grow towards the bigger somethings in my mind. I do not move at the world’s pace, and sometimes it asks why I’m moving so slowly, but I’m not. I’m just moving.

This post originally appeared on Spilled Inklings.

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Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

Originally published: January 23, 2018
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