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How Distracting Myself From Pain Has Distracted Me From My Relationship

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Life is all about balance. And the scales will vary for everyone, what they need or want to balance.

Life with chronic illness requires even more balance, which can be incredibly difficult. Especially when I’m trying to feed everything my soul needs to be fed.

This body of mine may be inflamed and tired but my mind is ever thirsty. My soul, it needs to fly. I need nourishment and fulfillment, peace and excitement, friendship, love, passions and purpose. I need. I need so much. And sometimes, sometimes I am so busy filling that need that I forget to fill my loved ones’ needs.

Distraction is so essential when living with severe chronic pain. Positivity and laughter. Community and friendship. Support and security. Passions and purpose. All are things my soul needs to thrive in this body that is so full of pain.

But love. Love is what is most important to me.

Yet, sometimes, all of these distractions I require, the very coping mechanism that keeps me going, can distract me from this most important thing.

From the man who has been here with me, through things no one should have to experience. Who has cried with me and for me. Has stood by me and been my safety, my peace, my security, my laughter and my best friend.

caricature drawing of man and woman

Tonight my heart is aching at the realization I have allowed my distractions to distract me from being the same to him. For him.

I know, if asked, he would either say it’s not true. That I’m here for him. Or he would say it’s OK. That he understands. That I’m going through a hard time right now.

But it’s not OK. It’s not OK to me. If I think of all my distractions, all my interests and passions, all of my needs, he tops my list as the most important. Yet, somehow, the very coping mechanism I use to help me remain my true self has led me into a selfish space that is not where I want to be. I want to be with him. Not just next to him. Not just in the same room with him.

No. I want him to know I am fully present. I don’t want him to feel like he’s second to anything else, ever. Because in my heart he is not. He is first. Always.

So, this balancing act, my level, needs to be re-examined. I need to rearrange things. As much as he makes me feel like I can always count on him to be here for me, in all ways, he deserves to feel the same way.

I love the people I connect with online, people who understand chronic illness and pain. I love being able to provide support to them and accept support in return. It’s important to me. It will stay. It will need to be balanced.

I love my music, and my art. I love my various hobbies and interests. They will stay. They will be balanced.

But the man who has been more than I would ever expect anyone to be, he is top priority. Always. I never want to take him for granted. In my balancing act of life, he is the one thing that will never lessen in importance. It’s important to me that he knows that.

painting that says E hearts L

I’m not sure if others experience this difficulty balancing their extra needs that become more essential when chronically ill, but I’m hoping, if others do, they can read this and know someone else, somewhere, is also trying to figure out how to level things out to just the right height and stumbling a little bit along the way.

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Originally published: October 6, 2017
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