Isn’t it enough for just one person to suffer, without the pain being transferred to those who care about them?
I think it’s important to not only think about the positives of any situation you are going through but to also consider and be realistic about the negatives. There’s no point pretending they don’t exist and burying your head in the sand. 9 times out of 10 if you acknowledge the negative, you can find a way around it or through it, or a way to avoid it. And if it’s that 1 time out of 10 that you can’t find a solution, well, at least you’re being honest with yourself… it never hurts to know and understand your weaknesses, as long as you don’t let them get you down.
For me, the negative that gets me the most is how my illness affects the people around me. I touched on this recently in my first post in this series when I said how I hate to see the people who care about me feeling so helpless. Isn’t it enough for just one person to suffer, without the pain being transferred to those who care about them? Not to mention the guilt and self-blame that comes from feeling that you are the one who is causing someone else pain. Even though it isn’t you, it’s this awful illness that absolutely none of us can do anything about.
Being chronically ill can affect a whole range of people, from friends and family to co-workers and associates. In some cases it hurts those people simply because they care. In other cases it hurts those people because you can’t hang out as often anymore or do the things that you used to do with them. Sometimes it’s those people who rely on us daily that feel the pain. Maybe it’s our children, maybe it’s our boss, maybe it’s our husband, our wife, our girlfriend or our boyfriend who should be able to rely on us when they need to. Whoever it is, and whatever their reason, chronic illness can spread through them like wildfire with little tendrils of shared pain shooting out in all directions, encasing everyone in its path. THAT is what hurts me the most.
So what can I do about it? Well… not a lot I suppose. Being ill is always going to hurt people and it’s always going to be an inconvenience. For me, I’ve found that it helps to simply keep those you love in the loop with what’s going on. Spreading knowledge about why it has to be this way, and letting people know when there is something they can do to help goes a long way to letting everyone accept what is going on. And for those who are hurt simply because they care… they’ll appreciate being kept up to date AND with a bit of luck, they’ll understand that it’s totally okay that they can’t help right now and that actually just being there and caring is the greatest gift they can give.
Do you feel guilty whenever your illness inconveniences someone else? What are your tips for reducing the impact on others?
This post is Part 4 of 52 in the series – A Year of Growth. The series is a celebration of the first anniversary of The Truth About M.E and is designed to help me grow through my illness throughout my second year of blogging. I look forward to having you along for the journey!