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Owning Up to the Jealousy That Can Come With Illness

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I used to be an endurance runner. I’ve done 20 half marathons and one triathlon. I loved it. A couple of years ago, it got harder and harder, and the last time I tried to run, I was in bed for two days. Maybe one day I’ll be able to run again, but today is not that day.

I have a couple of good friends who are also runners, and one in particular has several diagnoses in common with me. It’s no surprise she and I have been sidelined together for the last year.

But this morning, she posted a selfie on Facebook. She went for a run. And I am jealous.

I know it sounds shallow. But my illness has taken something I loved from me, and having a friend who understood really helped me to feel less alone, as there are a lot of lonely moments in chronic illness. Seeing her do the thing we had in common, that I can no longer do, is a painful reminder I can’t do it anymore, and I feel left behind.

However, I can adjust my attitude. I know how much it hurts to not be able to do a thing, so I am genuinely happy for her that she got to get out and I hope for her sake she’s able to keep it up. That’s it. There’s nothing else to think. My situation is not changed, so there’s no real reason to feel left behind or sad. Part of this entire experience is celebrating the good days, be it my good day or someone else’s.

So I’m just happy for her. I hope she enjoyed her morning, and I hope she gets to keep going.

I’m in charge of my attitude, and I choose to be happy for her. I will not listen to the negative voice in my head. We’re all in this together, and we all need all the support we can get.

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Originally published: March 20, 2018
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