5/13/08

Diagnosis Number 5 : Sick Girl



I was sitting in my Rheumatologist’s waiting yet again for a diagnosis to the latest weird pain and I happened upon a book from Amy Silverstein called Sick Girl and it spoke volumes to me for I too am a Sick Girl. Now beleaguered with diagnosis number 5, I am struggling with how this is affecting my life.

My life for the past 12 years has been a painful journey into discovering strength in myself as well as garnering the ability to steel myself against the inevitable withdrawal of support from a friend.

In Sick Girl, the author spoke of friends drifting away and the excuses were text book standards such as “I can’t stand seeing you this way” to just drifting out of a Sick Girls’s life. First come the non-answered phone messages to lack of emails to finally no contact at all.

So why do friends that at one time were chatting us up at the latest hotspot to being non-existent in your life? I can only assume that the reason is fear of their own mortality. I see that in some friends faces, I am a mirror to what could happen to them.

Because of this I find myself becoming cold to some people. I have stopped letting people into my life because I do not want to eventually see them go. I hate discussing my illnesses. I cringe at the pity in their sympathetic head nods and sometimes I feel like a fool because I just can’t do all the fun stuff anymore.

It is a fact in my life that because of my illnesses I tend to isolate myself because I do not want the pity. I do not want to see the fear in people’s eyes. And I certainly do not want the question “But how can you be sick? You look so normal” I also do not want to hear statements such as “Your medication is making you wacky.”

But am I a equally guilty participant in this mass exodus of friends? Of course I am. I struggle so hard to not appear sick. I want my circle of friends to think I can accomplish anything. But most of all, I want to not let my illnesses to overtake my life. But it does at times overwhelm me then I hide away and at times push people away.

Even tonight as I write, I wonder who is next to leave my life. I can only add some words of wisdom from a Sick Girl. Friend,I am really trying to hold myself together so please don’t leave this Sick Girl in your life. The struggle to appear normal is a daily achievement for me, I just do not want my illness to be center stage.

Do I sound defeated? Maybe but I am not. Do I dismiss those that care too easily? I know that you care but I do not want illness to define me. I want to let you know that just because I am a sick girl and I take 15 meds daily and I get tired easily, I want to hear about your life. Your friendship allows me to take a break from myself.

Please Stay.

5 Comments:

Penguinman said...

Chooch, wow, I could've written most of the above. I knew you had something, 'cos I'd picked it up when I was talking about my new meds, but hadn't twigged we have the same disease. I know all about the fighting with the illness, all about the friends nodding their heads in sympathy when they don't really know what they're actually sympathizing about! But, you shouldn't be defeated by any of them walking away, it's their loss, NOT your's. I know that feeling / worry which overwhelms when another "new" pain comes along ~ the mental torture you're going through. I go to the same place time and time again, and then resort to thinking "fuck it", this disease isn't going to beat me --- not today anyway! I'm fighting to ensure that if something defines me then it'll be my craziness, or my kindness, or my love of the arts or even, simply, penguins and not bloody rheumatoid arthritis. So, let's keep fighting that fight together, shall we? Plus soon and I'll have some even more great personal news......So, please Chooch, keep smiling 'cos in my time on here you're more than just a friend to

Stephinator said...

I've would never be able to tell that you were sick. You hide it well. Has Fibro Myalgia (sp) been ruled out? I'll tell ya this...this wet weather and barometric pressue going crazy is doing a big number on my joints. (knees in particular) so I could just imagine how you're feeling.
I do know where you're coming from though. There's stuff I'd love to do, but it will never happen again. sigh.

Feel better!

nanny2you said...

Receive a big cyber-hug from me as I whisper these things into your ear:
All you have is today--you know the spiel--yesterday-gone, tomorrow not guaranteed. Just today and you can do anything for one day. Do it with all of your heart. I have felt a kinship to you here in this giant expand of cyberspace. I have met a soulmate of sorts--me with my eleven daily meds and the devil sitting on my shoulder constantly beating up on me! But God says, I'm a winner. God says I'm valuable. God says He'll meet all my needs. And God says He'll never leave me or forsake me--that He is a FRIEND who sticks closer than a brother. So after he reminds me all of this, He encourages me to remind you!. So dear friend, take a deep breath and exhale and know that God does all things well can call us friends. Yeah!
Okay, I'm breaking the hug, only because duty calls, but I'm confident that you're okay!
love, Nan

John said...

I can relate. Hang in there. I know you have a great outlook and the friends that stick around are the true friends. Friends are about sharing the good and the bad.

Stacey B. (aka Carla) said...

Yup, yup, yup. Can't say as I sympathize as I don't know what you're going through...but you know Dawn and I have always been your friends and will always remain so. Regardless of distance, we're always here. Depression has been my constant companion for decades. It follows me around always lurking in the shadows of my laughter and self-destructive behavior. After my sister (in-law) died, something in me died. I never thought I'd see light again in my life and I'm still not sure if it exists today. All I know is I have to live "in the moment" no matter what.
I know I'll never be free of it, I'll never recover fully. It's something that's always there, waiting to destroy yet another chapter in my life. I can't even say I've defeated denial. I still deny it's there when I'm in the middle of something else.

Hon, if you run out of people nearby you can always know there's a willing ear regardless of the miles.

I miss you, Paul and of course Brent...so much.
Love and Hugs to Tom.

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