Maintaining relationships while you’re dealing with any illness both physical or mental is really difficult.
When I was physically ill and couldn’t walk, it took away alot of the choices I once had. I was suddenly dependent on others to come and visit me. I had no control over where or when I could see them. It was a really quick lesson in who my genuine friends were and who cared enough to be there for me. It made things a little easier knowing that the situation was just a temporary one and at some point my ability to make my own choices would return and that I wouldn’t always be so needy.
Time passed and eventually my health did improve and some of the opportunities I once had became an option once again. Such as being able to meet a friend at a coffee house or being well enough to attend work and reconnecting with colleagues. Two years on and my physical capabilities are still severely restricted but at least I’m able to participate in a ‘normal’ life to a certain degree.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the deterioration of my mental health and the impact that would have on both myself and my loved ones. It’s extremely difficult to communicate to others how I’m feeling whilst still protecting them from the realization of just how bad things are. I want to tell them so they know how best to make me feel better but I also don’t want to be completely honest because I don’t want to upset or worry them. It’s a daily struggle. Either way I can’t win. I’m extremely sensitive to whats said or done around me and it’s impossible for others to understand my behaviour. Small things to them can be huge things to me. I make lots of assumptions about everything and it’s always negative. I catastrophize alot in my head. The result is that neither one of us understands what’s going wrong or how to make it better and it pushes people away. I’m not easy to be around AT ALL. Arguments become more frequent and I become even more isolated. I’m angry at other people for not being understanding or not being there for me because if the roles were reversed I’d do as much as I could to help (but that’s because I know how bad things can get) and I hate myself for turning into this stranger who forgot how to be happy and who let all this negativity drown her.
I don’t know how to maintain a happy relationship when I can’t feel what happiness is. I can’t be myself because right now I’m not a nice person to be around. I’m miserable, irritable and emotionally draining. Who wants to be with someone like that?
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