You have no idea how happy it makes me to see a person without chronic illness get it! My friends are those kind of people and you have no idea how much easier it makes my life to not have to explain myself. But it hasn’t always been this way. I had to cut a lot of people out of my life to be left with the special ones I have left today.
For the last 2 weeks, I have been “tired”. I had a flu, the same flu that seems to be going around london and most my friend have, including my housemate.
It might have been the same flu but what happens with chronic illness is that it flares up every symptom and amplifies every ache and pain you would normally have. Whilst my housemate took one day off work, I took one week and every time I would beat myself up for it, she would respond: “It’s not the same. You know it’s not the same”
Because sometimes you can be the harshest critic. In fact, this voice wasn’t mine. It was an accumulation of voices from people who are no longer in my life.
When I would stop at the gym, they would tell me to push through the pain. When I used to take a week off from exercise, they would tell me I need to stop being lazy and when I couldn’t hear because colds amplify my hearing impairment, I was told to pay more attention when she was talking.
These voices are still in my head many years later but now I know what’s good for me and when taking a break is essential to my self care. Today was my first day back to myself and feeling good enough to be back in the gym and it felt like an accomplishment because I took 2 weeks off with minimal self-abuse (not none, but minimal!). A person with chronic illness will never belittle you for your cold. They will never compare your situation to theirs and they will have the most empathy for you when you are ill but just knowing your situation is different, shows in your behaviour.
Over the last few years, some of my friends have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses and I’ve gone from being the only one to having company and it feels shit. I’d rather be the only one! We don’t want you to join us in our pain, we just want you to understand. #scarrednotscared