Positive anything is better than negative nothing. — Elbert Hubbard
Most of my blogs have focused on my marriage (or lack thereof) and about the emotional decline that I faced due to my illness and a unsympathetic partner. I blog about these particular things for a very specific reason. The vast majority of chronic illness sufferers undergo the same lives that I lived. By no means do I assume that all partners are like this, and I do not completely blame Kellan for the failing of our marriage. I wasn’t perfect, nor did I pretend to be. But I was loyal, and I tried.
Yes, you read that properly. I am not perfect.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes with my illness. I didn’t take care of myself the way I should have. I ignored a lot of my symptoms. I canceled doctor’s appointments.
Why? I don’t know. Probably the same reasons you have. You assume if you ignore it that it will go away. You don’t want to hear the truth, hear what you already know. You don’t want the validation that you’re sick again. You don’t want your illness to impede your life and your relationships.
I have been there; so many times.
The mistake I made was lying. Not only to friends and people I cared about, but to myself. I really did more damage than necessary to myself emotionally as well as physically by ignoring what I already knew.
Probably around 8 months ago, I started to feel weird. I had some cramping, I was tired. I had a couple of days where I was swollen. I knew I was flaring, but I assumed it would go away.
Then my life hit a valley and things fell apart for a bit. I became more stressed than I had in the past two years. I started sleeping more, eating less. I was constantly tired and had no energy. My moods were all over the place. I am fairly certain that my best friend wanted to murder me!
And one day when I woke up, I couldn’t put my pants on. I was THAT swollen. You know the swollen I’m talking about. You wear baggy clothes to prevent being asked if you’re pregnant. I knew I was in so much shit at that point and it consumed me. And here’s the mistake I made.
I shut down. And I don’t mean I just went blah. I got depressed. I cried for a couple of days solid. I wouldn’t call anyone. I slept 36 hours off and on. I turned my phone off….and that was the worst mistake.
I scared people. People I care about. People who know I don’t turn my phone off at any time. I had missed texts from people, missed phone calls. I had so much explaining to do, and I didn’t know how to put it into words. I couldn’t find the words, so I just completely vanished.
Here’s the important question: Why? Why did I shut down to people I know and trust?
Because I didn’t want to be a burden. I didn’t want them to see me sick. I was scared. I was so use to dealing with it alone, I didn’t want others to have to deal with it too. Because…I didn’t want to lose any balloons.
Ultimately, I finally went to the doctor, and found out that I was in fact correct and had relapsed. Sadly, I’d waited long enough “ignoring” things that I was pretty impaired. I had a small procedure done, and have made some lifestyle changes, and things seem to be on the up.
Finding out I was in a relapse was like being punched in the stomach. Hard. I’d had surgery some years ago and been told that I would never get sick again. Obviously, this has proven false. It was a swift kick in the ovaries to remind me that until I cease to be, this will always be a part of my life. There is no escaping it. And ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. I can’t throw a penny in a wishing well and wake up tomorrow with a new body.
I have something I need to say. And I write this for myself; knowing that the people I speak of will never see it. To the aforementioned people I scared: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I let my old demons and my old voices haunt me and didn’t trust what I knew about you. I know if I had come to you instead of hiding, that you would have helped. I know that you care about me. I’m sorry that I let my selfishness and stubbornness get in the way of communicating with you about what was really going on. I’m sorry that I hid from you. If I’m being honest, you guys are the ones I wanted most. But I was scared that if you knew….really knew….that you wouldn’t want to deal with it. Know that I’m trying. I have so many voices locked inside of me; and I’m trying to find words that can explain everything. But one voice stops me all the time. The one that tells me I cause nothing but pain and waste time. Know that in my mind, I was doing you a favor by going away. Know I did this because I care about you and your wellbeing and I was trying to spare you the misery of having to deal with me being sick. Know in my head it made sense, and I promise my maladjusted intentions were pure, even though my thinking wasn’t conducive and was selfish. But most importantly, know that you never left my mind. Not even for a second. Know that you matter to me, greatly.
Here’s the point of my blog, ladies and gentlemen. You have to risk your pride. I learned the hard way multiple times that “sitting down and shutting up” does not do anyone any favors.
You have to let yourself be vulnerable. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to let people know that you’re not feeling good and the truth as to why. If they care, they’ll understand. They won’t judge you. And if they can’t hack it…then you can’t force them to. You can only hope that they think you’re worth it. You can only hope that to them, you’re greater than the battles you have to fight, and they’ll help you when you run out of spoons.
But you have to let them in. Don’t make the mistakes I made.
I know how hard that is. I was conditioned to the point that silence became my best friend. I know my body better than I know my name, and I knew something was wrong and I waited over six months to deal with it because I didn’t want to interfere with someone else’s time/world/opinion of me. I didn’t want to be seen as anything less than what I am; which is a person full of good intentions.
Walls. Not only do we have them, but they’re incredibly tall and six layers thick. And we can build them up twice as fast as they can chisel them down. And it’s usually do to previous experiences with friends and partners that make us feel as though we aren’t worthy and don’t deserve the time it takes.
I don’t ask a lot of the people in my life. Just be real. Don’t waste my time. Don’t waste my energy. And don’t try to come into my heart if you don’t plan on staying long enough to see what I’m about.
Let your walls down. It’s okay, I promise. And if you can’t let them all the way down, find someone who’s willing to climb in and peek over the top. Friend, lover, partner, doctor. Whoever.
I’m worth more than the battles I fight. I’m worth it. And yes, I have walls. But, I think I may lower mine a little, and see if anyone’s willing to climb over. Maybe I’ll help them chisel too.❤