The other night was a really really bad night. It was one of those nights. You know the ones. They feel endless. Time stops. Nothing helps, yet you know that somehow it will get better.
For me, it was a triple whammy. First, I was dealing with nausea and diarrhea. As I have mentioned in many posts before, I finally found a diet that seems to have healed my leaky gut and I almost never have these symptoms anymore. It’s been truly life-changing! So I don’t know where these came from. Second, I was having trouble breathing. This had been a problem all day, but when I tried to lie down to go to sleep, it got worse. Maybe this had to do with the new med? Finally, I wasn’t at home, I was at my parents’ house. This meant I couldn’t just pop in my go-to feeling-like-crap movie to distract me. It was a very very bad time.
After 2 hours of laying down, then sitting up to help my breathing, then laying down, then moving to the couch to try to sleep while sitting up, then going back to bed, all while sucking on Pepto tablets, I did finally manage to get some sleep. I slept fitfully, though, waking up often, and around 7am I finally gave up altogether.
The next day, I acted like it was a normal day, even though I felt like shit. I didn’t mention anything until late in the afternoon when my father asked how I was. He had been awake when I was roaming the house, trying to get comfortable on the couch. I hadn’t said a word to him that night, so he knew something was wrong. Plus, I don’t usually sit alone in a dark room for over an hour. I gave him a basic summary. I didn’t think much of it, until I noticed my brother-in-law was paying attention to what I said. And then I wondered how it sounded to him, since I’ve never really spoken to him about any of my symptoms, and I hadn’t mentioned anything that day. No one else knew I had been ill the night before. I wasn’t trying to hide it, I just didn’t think to mention it. What was the point? It was over, and I was on the mend.
That night I was on Facebook, reading posts in the many thyroid-related and pain-related groups that I belong to, and I noticed multiple people commenting on the friends who get tired of listening to them talk about their illnesses. It made me wonder, not for the first time, what it is that people say.
Now, it’s not that I don’t speak about my illnesses or my symptoms at all. Of course I do. I suppose there are a few differences for me compared to what I read. I just have no idea what the reality actually is for others. For me, though:
- I don’t talk about it every day.
- Mostly I only speak about it when it effects plans with a friend, etc. I’ll say I have to cancel plans because I don’t feel well, or that I need to change things to be more sedentary because the fatigue is bad. But I rarely bring it up out of context.
- Except for the worst times, I intentionally try to balance things. When I hear myself talking about my health stuff a lot to someone, I make a point of then asking about their lives, and focusing on what’s going on with them. (I learned this lesson the hard way from a friend many years ago. But I did learn from it, which is why she’s still in my life and is reading this on Monday morning at work while she sips her coffee, I bet. *waves*)
- My symptoms came on gradually over many years. It’s not as if I had a particular life and then I woke up one day and everything had changed. Instead, the illnesses slowly eroded my life, so the changes were less startling, and therefore weren’t “news” the way they are when there’s a sudden onset of symptoms.
Do I complain? Of course. Do I whine? Occasionally. But mostly, I forget to bring it up. This crap is such a huge part of my life, that it almost feels normal. It’s sad but true. So I forget to talk about it most of the time. And that’s why I can’t imagine what it is that others say about it every day. I’m just curious. What is it you discuss with your friends and family regarding your illness(es)?
And for the times when I really just need to bitch about the unfairness of it all, well, this blog is great for that!