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I'm Used to My Struggles With Chronic Illness by Now

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I sit at my kitchen table, a half-eaten sandwich on my plate, staring at the pills in my hand I need to take tonight. I tell myself I should be used to this by now. I have been on these meds for years, and sick for even longer. I do not want to take them, but I know that, for now, they are keeping the diseases at bay. So, I pick up my glass, and take them again, and tell myself I should be used to this by now.

Their mocking words of how, when asked about my life, I only ever talk about work, sting. It was a choice I made a long time ago, to hide my pain away from prying eyes. It is not their fault, and I should be used to this by now. They do not know how much I wish to not feel like a spectator or a coach, watching or walking my friends through their next adventure. No matter how much I try to will it though, I cannot control my body’s struggles or contain my far too many coping mechanisms, and I know I should be used to it by now.

Chronic illness is such a journey, full of ups and downs. In many ways, we get used to most of it, or at least go numb to it for periods of time. But then something hits one of our many triggers, and we are aware once again of our shortcomings or all of the things we say no to. This week, I am going to blame the rainy weather as my trigger, but just a few months ago, it was the oppressive heat. Doesn’t make much sense to most people, but to many of us chronic illness warriors, this is just every day.

I have a text in my inbox from one of my best friends, assuring me I am not being selfish in our conversation, after I had apologized again. I have so few consistent people in my life, I never want to take them for granted. They support me through so much, and I always want to be grateful, and never say, “I am used to this now.” To anyone who is struggling today like I am, know you are not alone. May you find your family and friends to be by your side. And know, we are in this together.

Getty image by Fabio Principe

Originally published: March 3, 2021
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