Possibly the biggest difficulty for anyone with a chronic problem is constantly second guessing yourself.
With a person who has gangrene, there are visible problems that cant be denied. Even a person with cancer can see their problems in test results. A person with heart disease or a bipolar can even be diagnosed.
I dont mean to be crass or careless in stating that. Its just the way life deals with us.
Whereas a person with, lets say Chronic Fatigue, Fybromyalgia, or even stress and burn out doesnt have conclusive test results. You dont get a pience of paper or an xray that says in black and white that you are honestly sick.
Seldom is a person with one of these silent and invisible ailments a lazy person, because well, lets face it if a lazy person got it, they wouldn’t know because they were never active enough to know what its like to be restricted.
But you get a young person who is fit and healthy and intelligent and wants the most out of life who is suddenly incapable of doing almost anything. And although it is a very very real problem, you find not only are others questioning the person’s motives and problems, but the person themselves.
Yes, I am talking from experience, both my CFS experience and my current burnt out issue.
I find myself sitting, gasping for breathe, unable to move, physically in pain and so I give up. I rest, and slowly as the day proceeds I begin to feel power seeping into my veins, and so I do a little bit. But now I’m scared, I’m scared that if I do too much, I might end up unable to do anything again.
And so I sit and rest again. And while I’m sitting there, I begin to think. I try not to dwell on my inabilities, I do not want to wallow in self pity. But at the same time I find myself thinking, not for the first time, am I truly unwell or have I just become lazy and complacent?
Because no seemingly vibrant, young twenty something woman likes to consider the consequences of admitting defeat and saying “I’m unhealthy” or “my body cannot continue”.
Its one thing when old people get that, no one likes it, but old people have had a good life, they’ve been active and in their ripe old age its understandable that they slow down. But for a young person to get their minds around it is so hard.
And when a loved one or a friend asks you to do something, you know you want to, but inevitably you end up letting them down, or hurting yourself more in the process of attempting to help them.
So you begin to withdraw from others, as you see the accusation in their eyes. You can almost hear them thinking “she’s lazy and using this as an excuse” or “who does she think she is, the queen? She has to start pulling her weight.“
You push your body to its limits and beyond, which inevitably gets you worse off. And you know, deep down inside you just know that this is a very real problem, a problem that you have no physical control over.
But that question is ever lurking in your mind “Am I just kidding myself? Am I truly physically unable to do this, or am I being lazy?“