Monday, February 17, 2014

When Recovery is a Bad Word

You know that last post I wrote about refraining from apologies? I suppose it's not so easy to skirt feelings of guilt for being sick for an extended period of time, after all. Keep finding reasons to praise yourself for your most healing moments though, even when you feel you're defending them.

There are always those around you who assume that because you announce your experiences with online friends, that the inside scoop is shared. That your "whole truth" is exposed.
It isn't. Sometimes, in extreme cases- if you're VERY good with a camera- you may even be able to pass these tougher times on as lovely, when they hurt more than the holes in your colon. 

I believe that during two periods in the cycle that is a flare of a chronic illness, you learn who the closest ones to you really are. This isn't to say that people who aren't wiping your ass don't care-- they just may not have the capacity to understand just how many times [or why] you can't stop shitting* your pants. Here are some pointers for those who are recovering from long-term illness and can't stop wondering when they'll feel normal again in all kinds relationships, and how to enjoy getting there.

*Shit being every tiny emotional, financial, spiritual, crisis, among too many others to list here.
Even SPECIALISTS struggle with this. Stumbling upon a strong community of sick or healing people is one of the most valuable things that can come about in the life of someone with a chronic illness.

Finding solid friends with fiercely relentless appetites for understanding can safe your life. Have you had eyes rolled at you, been hurt by it, and then realized that the eye-roller hadn't had more than a ten minute conversation with you in the last year? Me too. This is one of those pieces of advice that I'll highlight, italicize, AND place in bold: Don't apologize for doing things that make you happy after spending ANY amount of time thinking you were dying. 

DO be honest with the people you've let in about what's important to you, and try your best to vocalize the confusion you're feeling about countless lost opportunities, about spacing out on important things like meetings or social do's & don't's, or how to go about managing things that you haven't in a very long time... like money or time management. These are things that most people don't have to think about twice in their day-to-day routine. 
It's very okay that you do. 

Ugh, am I right? Some sickies with full-time jobs struggle with absences and tardiness pretty regularly. If you've gotten involved with the type of employer that doesn't listen to your needs, get your booty to your local SSA office as fast as you can, and make an appointment with a representative to talk about your rights as a sick person. 

Romantic Relationships.
I'm still working this one out. Let's dog ear this part, shall we? Just be as honest as possible, and go to therapy while you're sick so you don't fuck it up any worse than your sickness will. Your partner might not be able to handle things, and leave.

Ooh, you could make a bestie with a family member who's got the same illness you do, that's worked out pretty wonderfully for me. And where would you be able to find someone like that?? In your disease support community!! <3 This next part is going to sting, and I've gone here before if you've ever read any previous posts, but: It is probable that you will lose a large number of people close to you when you get sick. Think of it this way- if a pal became VERY involved with training for say... a marathon, and you just couldn't grasp what was so special about missing out on parties, ditching regular nights out with the gang, or waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to train for something [they felt] they neeeeeeded to, would you be right there with them in the snow? No. So don't be hurt by your chums not jumping on board with your mandatory marathon. 

I'm tired. I think this post is done.
[Because I'm late now. I can't manage my time well. Read up on what else medical PTSD will keep you foggy about- and don't apologize for needing to]. #sorrynotsorry.

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