From time to time I find that poetry is the richest way to describe certain experiences that accompany living with a chronic illness. One of these experiences is that of the fatigue that comes with systemic lupus.
You just found out that someone you care about has just received a medical diagnosis and you don't know what to say. You are not alone. This is a common feeling and it is ok to not always know what to do or say. What is important is to try to not react in speech or action without thinking sensitively first.
The loss of a loved one is never an easy situation to process. There can be so many emotions present; emotions about the person who's passed, as well as emotions about one's own life. One may find themselves feeling very positively about the person who has passed away or perhaps angry at the person for leaving life, among other feelings
I often find myself wondering if people who do not live with a chronic illness are aware of how often those living with a chronic condition tend to blame themselves and feel shame for things that are really out of their control. It is my inclination to believe that most people do not think about the intensity and frequency of self-blame, guilt, and shame that people living with chronic illnesses may inflict on themselves. These experiences of blame, guilt, and shame can be quite emotionally painful and can oftentimes result in the person doing things that are not in his or her best interest in order to not feel painful feelings.
When living with chronic pain or chronic illness long enough, at times some people can start to believe that their discomfort is normal, until a moment comes and they are reminded that in fact it is not. Many people who live with chronic pain and illness may quickly understand what I am referring to... those moments when you look around and realize that nobody else in the room is experiencing the pain that you are. This may feel obvious to some; however, pain and discomfort may have become the new normal for many people living with pain. It is always or usually there, and some people may have even forgotten what it is like to live without it.
Living with a chronic illness and managing one's own life can be an enormous challenge. A person may have to make accommodations and adjustments to their daily routine, including things like meals, physical activity, work, and social events. This can often feel frustrating and challenging. However, many mothers who live with chronic illness much rather prefer that to what it feels like having to manage their illness while also being a parent.
Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is not just of medical concern. It can also have a tremendous impact on a woman's emotional wellbeing. The various emotions a woman will experience will of course vary depending on the particular individual, and the specific type of STD; however, some common emotions are feelings of self-blame, guilt, anger, despair, depression, shame, a feeling of being misunderstood, and fear. Lets discuss some of these emotions.
Do you wonder why it has been so difficult to have a long-term satisfying relationship? Is it hard for you to meet new people? Perhaps you have no trouble meeting new people but find developing intimacy challenging? Maybe you have tried dating sites, exploring new social avenues, or even a match maker, but have you ever considered psychotherapy?
You are about to become a parent or have recently become one. Naturally you want to experience all of the joys that arrive with parenthood and are expected to do so by society. You may also be experiencing an enormous amount of stress, which comes with the great adjustment to life that parenthood requires.
Do you stress eat to numb certain feelings that seem unmanageable? Do you use food like a drug to avoid unpleasant emotions, such as anxiety or stress? Are you unfamiliar with healthier ways to cope with stress? Has stress eating been a default coping mechanism throughout your life, beginning in childhood? Perhaps you learned stress eating as a coping mechanism during childhood by watching family members stress eat.
Has your body become a source of frustration due to aging, injury, illness, or pregnancy? Do you find yourself feeling limited in engaging in physical activities that you used to enjoy? People can often feel a sense of loss or even depression when they can no longer use there bodies in the ways that they may have always taken for granted.
Feeling as if there is no control over one's body or health, is one of the most frightening experiences a person may have. In fact, it can be so terrifying that at times it may be traumatic, causing a person to think about this loss of control over and over, and maybe even leading a person to create scary scenarios about the future.
"Passing" may be a more relevant construct for people living with invisible illnesses; however, it can be an issue to grapple with for all people who live with chronic illness, as illness can be more visible during some times and less during others. If a person who is living with illness is "passing," that would mean that to others, that person appears as seemingly "healthy."