One of the worst feelings of chronic illness isn’t the pain.
It’s feeling like we’re not understood. That we’re not *gasp* believed.
If you’re a long time reader, you know that I’ve battled these feelings with people I considered friends from the very beginning. What you maybe don’t know is that I’ve also dealt with disbelief from my own family.
My mother has been of the opinion that I just need to lose weight and I’ll feel better. My sisters have tried to sell me on diets and workout plans. My step-dad has scoffed at my use of a cane. I took it all in stride. Though it cut me, I realized after a time that I couldn’t make them understand something they didn’t want to see.
Maybe it was stubbornness, maybe they thought it was a cry for attention. Maybe they knew that accepting my illness meant accepting all it entails, and we all know this is not an easy life.
Recently, it appears my mom has reached some level of understanding. The last two months, she has called after my shot to check on how I’m feeling. She has genuinely acknowledged that those days are not my best and has called simply to offer love and wishes of a speedy recovery. I’m not sure what caused her to make the shift. I dare not ask for fear that I’ll hurt her feelings. Instead, I’ll roll with it and accept that she now may be in my corner.
Though my feelings were hurt when I felt she didn’t believe me, it’s unhealthy to hold on to that sadness, disappointment, and anger. It’s taken me months to learn to let go of the negative feelings, to embrace myself for all that I now am. I cannot let how others view me define who I am and I how I behave. If I do, I’ve lost the battle before I’ve even began.
And honestly, don’t we have enough battles to fight?