Sorry, I’m Still Sick

(This is an re-write of an older 2017 post titled ” Hope You’re Feeling Better” )

I love that friends, family and even neighbours often think of me and ask how I am, or say they hope I am feeling better.

It lets me know that I am cared for and not forgotten, even though my disease has pretty much caused me to live the life of a recluse over recent years.

An Unexpected Emotional Response

However, it also conjures an unexpected emotional response in me. A response that I am sure many others with chronic diseases will relate to. It conjures a feeling of guilt.

Why?

I’ve been contemplating that question for a while and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because I feel like I’m letting everyone down.

People generally like to read a good story with an introduction, a middle with a climax that is often dramatic but has a conclusion with a happy ending.

It’s like that in real life too. If we hear someone is sick we like to hear soon after that they’re better.

If we hear someone has a terminal illness or chronic disease that will progress rather than improve……well, what do you do with that? How do you find the right emotional response to the person living with those circumstances?

The natural response is to feel sadness,  fear or even anger. In some people the response is to withdraw or run from the situation.

How Are You? Any Better?

The chronic disease sufferer, who is so often weighed down by their pain and disease symptoms, can find it hard to decipher why friends and family respond in certain ways to their illness.

Those around us, searching for an emotional, appropriate response to our disease and circumstances, have little choice but to ask,  ” How are you today?” or to say, “I hope you’re feeling better”.

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So Why The Guilt?

I think the guilt felt by the chronic disease sufferer, is rooted in the fact it’s unlikely we are feeling any better than they did yesterday, or the day before.

It’s likely we’ll be on a path of getting progressively worse.

No one wants to hear that and no one wants to say that. It all sounds a little…well, too dismal!

I don’t like giving dismal news so I start to feel bad that I have to. It’s either tell the truth (or a dulled down version) or lie.

I’ve always been such a strong advocate of openness and honesty so, if I did lie, I would still feel overwhelming guilt.

Finding A Place of Understanding

So how do we, the chronic disease sufferer and the caring friend or family member, live happily ever after with a situation that is ongoing and let’s face it, burdensome to everyone.

We just need to keep trying to understand each other. The chronic disease sufferer needs to understand that people really can’t find the right thing to say….. because what can you say?

The caring friend or family member also need to understand that your response may simply be,

” thanks for asking, still no change”

or

” things are getting a little worse”.

Depending on who you are talking to, you may feel comfortable to expand with a few details.

At the end of the day contact with others is so important for our overall wellbeing.

So, my tip is, once that awkward “hope you’re feeling better today” moment is out of the way, simply ask the caring enquirer how they are. That usually helps get a conversation flowing that makes everyone comfortable.

PS: In the spirit of guilt free openess and honesty… I’m not doing all that great physically today but I’m feeling relaxed and hopeful tomorrow will be a little better

Take care

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

 

9 thoughts on “Sorry, I’m Still Sick

  1. Gosh I hear you, this is the same for me. Two years on from brain surgery, it’s very small steps of progress, there’s some brain damage that will never restore. When people ask me how I am, I struggle, I feel like I am disappointing them. ‘ still struggling with a lot’ I will say and their reply is ‘ but you look so good, your so much better’. That’s the outward appearance which is so different than the difficulties I am trying to cope with a dysfunctional brain. Then I feel I have to give an explanation and examples of my struggles, I am sure they don’t want to hear, and I really don’t want to give, but I seem to fall in this trap of telling them I am still sick.
    I will try your advice and switch the conversation around to them. Though I doubt my unfiltered brain thoughts will react with compassion to hear they’ve a sore toenail!
    Thanks for the honest post.
    Joanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Joanne, I so understand. You have completely understood what I was trying to explain. Thank you for that. It’s not an easy topic.
      Lol…yes listening to sore toe stories can be difficult in the big scheme of things.
      I hope using the “turning the conversation around” technique helps you get out of that rabbit warren of trying to explain too much. Xx

      Like

  2. I myself do understand, having a daughter who is chronically ill with autoimmune diseases (lupus, colitis, P-O-T-S-, mast cell, and more) most people truly don’t understand what she is dealing with each and everyday, except me her mom, as I watch her in pain it is very hard. However, for me having faith in Christ gets both of us through those difficult days and sometimes it is many days which is now everyday having some kind of pain. Always remember God does not heal everyone I don’t know why but I stand on his promises, and I know that God loves my daughter even more than her dad and me can even imagine.
    Jeremiah 29:11 I continue to hold close to my heart, For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans not to harm but give you a hope and a future. God’s ways are higher than mine and he does have a plan for all of his children.
    I will continue to pray for your healing, your strength for everyday, and always remember you are a precious child of the Most High King Jesus Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is one of my favorites verses💞 My faith is definitely what gets me through everyday. I believe healing comes in many ways. For me it has been through the peace of acceptance and being able to find God’s purpose for my life in the midst of my disease.
      Your daughter is incredibly blessed to have you and I will keep you both in my prayers also 💞

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Really good post Sam. I know what you mean. My sister keeps saying to me every week “do you think you’re getting over it?” well no I don’t think I ever will get over it (it being Me, fibromyalgia, arthritis in spine and every where else) – moan over! – but I just look at her and say “yes I hope so. ” it’s exhausting and you know they want to hear positive news!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly it! I think our loved ones sometimes struggle more than we do in coming to terms with our disease. It is exhausting though isn’t it to have to keep repeating ourselves.
      Thanks so much for commenting 💞

      Like

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