Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot with the anger side of chronic illness. It’s common, especially considering life with chronic illness is similar to going through the stages of grief repetitively, depending on the day and your symptoms.
The one stage everyone expects us to be in is acceptance, and if you write/mentor about or advocate for chronic illess it goes double. That’s not the reality. Some days, I accept my situation, and see all the bright sides, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Some days I’m just sad that I can’t do all of the things I want to. Lately though, I’ve been angry.
I’m angry at my luck. I’m angry at my body. I’m angry at the fact that there are so many people who have perfect health that never have aspirations past going to work, coming home, and going to bed. Not that it isn’t a perfectly acceptable life, but it isn’t the one I want. I want to do so many things; I want to learn and be good at so many things. So, sometimes when my body stops me, I feel so angry at the fact that so many healthy people take their health for granted.
Mostly, I’m angry that when I was healthier, I took it for granted. I skipped so many things because of stupid reasons: because I was scared, or embarrassed, or just thought I’d have time for it later.
I am luckier than most, and I can still do a lot, but I also still get angry and sad. I guess I just want people to know that if you know someone with chronic illness, and they’re usually very good about it, that doesn’t mean they don’t also have bad days.
None of this means I want anyone to magically make me feel better. We are told so often to “keep your head up”, “stop crying”,”it’s not so bad”, and other similar things. Most people don’t want to see our reality, so when we’re staring at it and dealing with it in our own way, there’s nothing worse than having someone try to brush the bad off.
I am entitled to my feelings-all of them. I am allowed to feel sad, just as much as I am allowed to feel happy. Taking away my sadness or anger just strips me of another part of the full scope of the world and my life. So I have no plans to pretend that those feelings don’t exist.
I’ve never had a problem pushing forward and fighting for as much health as possible, but that doesn’t mean I always have the positive and motivational attitude everyone expects. Spoonies learn to handle a lot of things on their own because many people are uncomfortable by the bad things chronic illness entails. If you have someone in your life who suffers from chronic illness, please try to remember that shoving the bad away is like telling them a portion of their lives shouldn’t exist, and that their sadness and anger, and ultimately their illness (which is a part of them whether anyone likes it or not) has no place in your life. But you cannot have that person without also having the negative parts of their life too.
Today, I’m angry, but that’s okay, because tomorrow I’ll get to feel something else.