Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Chronic Illness and Relationships

Talking to a healthy person about yourself, symptoms, or whatever is quite often comparable to hitting your head against a brick wall. Unless they have experienced some form of significant ill-health then they will not have the slightest clue as to what you are talking about. Trying to explain that you feel as if you haven't slept for a year is often given a response of 'why don't you just take a nap' or 'have you tried going to sleep earlier?'. The latter is my favorite as I can often sleep for 18 hours a day and not feel any different to the 8 hours I get.


Having an invisible illness is frustrating and it is difficult to walk the cusp of the 'healthy' world and the 'sick' world. Thankfully at work I have a very understanding boss, he may not grasp what I have explained to him but he will implement what I need to function through the day and to do my job well. So that might include, a foot stool (I have an extensive DVT), extra breaks to rest or walk (DVT), altered hours to fit around my medication schedule and the times when I am most alert. When I have a hospital appointment I just wave a letter and get given the day off. I feel very lucky to have such a supportive work place when I know that there are others who would not accommodate these requests.

Family and Friends

Family life is a different matter. Bless them, they just want to help, but sometimes they don't understand that you sometimes just need to do things for yourself and that may mean coming back to it later in the day. Now, just because I've left something unfinished does not mean that I'm not going back to it. Quite often someone will sometime just jump in there, finish it, and the complain later yet if they had stopped to ask me 'do you need some help with that?' I can let them know either way. That's the problem with close knit family and friends you seem to know each other so well but when something changes they seem to have a need to take on any burdens that might occur just to save you the hassle of dealing with other stuff.

Luckily my significant other also has some health problems so he knows that it's always best to ask, however there are also times when I don't even need to say anything and it gets done; for example every 12 hours he will come over to do my injections (I am unable to do them myself at the moment) without me asking him or will put the kettle on at just the right time. I think because he has a life-long condition that he knows what it is like, the same goes for other family members. 


This is what it all boils down to. If you don't communicate your wishes in your life then people will assume what you do and do not want. Make it very clear when you need help and when you do not; if you are going for a break then let it be known that you will be going back in a little while etc.
Communication is important in any relationship and is even more vital when you're poorly so just bear that mind and it should ease up on any tensions that might creep up. By being open and honest with your desires and wishes will prevent any unwanted arguments and will help to keep that individual spark alive with the people you care about.

Do you have any stories to share or any advice to share about balancing your relationships and your illness?

No comments:

Post a Comment