I've talked before about the resentment I feel for my disease itself. Migraines have stolen much from me, and I resent that this disease has taken up so much space in my life. Usually I can use this resentment and anger to keep me going on my path toward getting better.
But I find other resentment in my life as well, which I don't talk about much. In the spirit of honesty and sharing with my readers, however, I'll talk about it now. And that is the resentment I feel toward other people. Before you close your browser window in disgust, please do read on.
It's not that I resent specific people. It's more that I resent (and envy) the carelessness of good health. I see it all the time, the ease with which many others live their lives, blissfully ignorant of the continual attentiveness that is chronic illness.
Most of my energy during the day goes to thinking about and coping with the little challenges I come across. I'll reference here the Spoon Theory, written by Christine Miserandino, the founder of But You Don't Look Sick?, a wonderful site for anyone with invisible illness. Anyone with chronic illness knows the very real challenge of living within your limitations, learning to conserve and use your energy (spoons) wisely. I've found that just to conserve my spoons, or to prevent spending them too quickly, in itself takes a lot of spoons.
This is something that is very difficult for people without chronic illness to understand. I don't (usually) resent them for it, but I do envy the decisions they don't have to make.
A friend of mine once described it like this:
Most people simply make their choices and leave the momentous decisions for things like buying a house. It sounds to me like the difference is that simple choices become decisions for you. So in that sense you don't get choices. You're forced to make decisions, and the weight of each decision carries with it a stress load quite unlike that of mere choices. And since other folks don't have that load, they really aren't likely to get how the process affects every other aspect of life. "Well, why can't you just...?" You can never "just..." anything.
And that is the essence of this second type of resentment. I can never "just" anything.
A perfect example: my team is having a BBQ tomorrow after work. Deciding whether or not DBF and I will go has been putting a lot of stress on me. Do I have enough spoons left from the week to do this extra activity on Friday? Will I have the energy to socialize? What will I do about food? I can't eat any of the food being served (hamburger, hot dog, veggie burger) because of my strict diet. Will I have a good time if I go? What won't I be able to do this weekend if I decide to go to the BBQ? How will this affect my work next week - will I have enough energy to make it through the full 40 hours? Questions like this have been buzzing in my head all week. There's no easy answer. I want to go, but I don't know if the cost to me will be worth it. (And I'm not even talking about the $10/person contribution to the food/beer budget.)
Most of the people on my team have not had to face these questions. If I was healthy, it would "just" be a matter of, is my schedule clear? Do I want to go? Yes + yes = go to BBQ.
Next Wednesday is my 25th birthday, the third birthday I'll have during this current bad migraine cycle. Never did I think I would be sick for so long. I'm trying not to be depressed about it. I will get to spend it with DBF, a wonderful, caring man who has been through so much with me on this confusing and difficult journey. And he's buying me ice cream cake. It's completely against my diet, but I'm not willing to skip it completely. I've had to give up so much already that I just need a slice of normalcy.
Have a good weekend, everyone.