Over the last few months I’ve become someone I don’t like very much. I’m angry, guilt-ridden, depressed, scared and anxious constantly. I feel like I can barely keep my head above water most days.
When you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness like RA nothing is ever the same again. Someone should sit you down and just say it – it sucks hard. Bye bye pretty things, now you will be practical. Bye bye being social or dating or having sex without pre-planning and medicating for every activity. Bye bye not feeling like a specimen – poked and prodded by everyone and their uncle. Bye bye feeling like a person and not a set of symptoms and side-effects.
“Honour your feelings.”
That’s what my therapist said to me just before Christmas. I’ve been struggling with this lately. There are so many people in the online RA community who talk about “chronic hope” and being happy to live each day even if they are in excruciating pain, etc. I’ve never been completely incapacitated by my RA. I have a great medical team and access to financial support for the most effective medications for RA so how can I feel like my lot is so shitty? Others have it far worse than I do. My therapist told me regardless of where I fall on the spectrum that I’m allowed to feel everything how I perceive it and not to let other people’s experiences affect that.
That was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
You see, I am not chronically hopefully. I am not happy to be alive and in constant pain. I am miserable swallowing handfuls of medication morning and night. I’m disturbed by having to inject myself weekly with two different drugs. I am tired of seeing my GP, therapist and Rheumatologist over and over again. I don’t want them to stick another needle in my arm or x-ray anything. I want to feel human again. More than anything, I want to be well.
Honouring my feelings worries me.
My concern is that those feelings are rotting me from the inside out. I am not who I was 6 months ago and I’m certainly not who I was a year ago. My ability to empathize with others has been quashed. My coworkers have been sick lately and my boss had minor surgery and I could barely wish her well. I want scream at them to suck it up because they will be fine in no time; I however, haven’t been fine for over a year now. I hate my job. I hate the inconvenience of it at this point – I wish I could just focus on being well and getting better. I put in minimal effort, which is the opposite of how I am when it comes to my work. I just don’t care. Nothing really matters or means much to me anymore. (And yes, I acknowledge I am in the midst of an awful depression but I remain functional)
I am exhausted. Spent. Struggling to see some positive in all this but I can’t. The longer this goes on the more I feel myself pulling away from everyone. I feel like I have so little positive to put out into the world so I just don’t say anything. I don’t blog. I don’t really tweet. I don’t call anyone. I feel like people just look at me and think, “why is she still complaining?”, “She looks fine”, “It’s all just an excuse”, “She’s so depressing why can’t she just be happy?”
The list goes on and on…
I wasn’t even going to post this but I just need to put this out there. I’m not trying to bring anyone down or make anyone else feel bad but it’s so isolating when the community you’ve been thrust into is so unrelatable to you. I wish I could be hopeful but I’m not.