The week is over and the weekend begins – Sleep! Rest! No Pants! As other girls glam up to go out, I throw on my joggers, put on some Netflix and chill the hell out (and I mean actual Netflix and Chill, not the naughty kind).
So with not much exciting happening since Tuesday’s Willy Wash (see Willy Washing (reader discretion advised)… if you fancy a morbid yet slightly amusing read) I decided to write a list of 5 things I have learnt since joining the world of Chronic and Invisible Illness. I have learnt so much more, that I may list on other boring and uninspired days, but here’s a start:
1. You cannot make plans. Seriously give up now. Your body will, without fail, hit a flare the minute you plan something. If you have an unpredictable illness this can actually be used to your benefit – want to know when you’re gonna get sick? Plan something. Be excited about it. Or place a whole lot of pressure and importance on it.
2. Talk to friends, colleagues and family. You may feel embarrassed, you probably will feel worried about being perceived as an attention seeker. Suck it up. It is worse to isolate yourself and risk misunderstanding. Explaining myself a year after my symptoms got bad and I had become a hermit was miles harder than if I had just been honest from the get go.
3. Get used to, and comfortable with, being probed. Both literally and metaphorically. The Dr is going to poke and prod with the ever loved question:
“Does that hurt?”
“No Dr, I’m just here for the experience! Please, press harder!”
The Dr is going to ask invasive questions and it will, without fail, be in front of your significant other, friend or family member (or a combination of the three). Your partner will learn how many times you poo in a day, your friend will know the average regularity, colour and consistency of your period, your mum will finally hear, definitively, that you are no longer a virgin. This is just par for the course.
4. Whilst you are getting used to and comfortable with the above, you might as well accept that no matter how much your cheeks burn bright red answering embarrassing questions right now, at some point it will become the norm. To the point you willingly offer the information without prompt, because somehow that reduces the embarassment a little. At this point you will need to watch what you are saying, and who to, whenever you talk about your condition. It is not so weird to visit you GP armed with a Dulux Colour Chart and a plethora of adjectives to describe your poo/pee/period (well actually, it’s a touch weird and may not be as well received by your Dr as you hope…) but your boss really doesn’t want to know.
5. You are going to feel overwhelmed. Very overwhelmed. Everytime you get sick, everytime you visit a Dr, everytime you think about being sick. It may not be the end of the world, but sometimes it feels like it. It is the end of your world, well, your world as you know it. It is okay to have a breakdown, it is okay to have a cry and wallow a little, just don’t unpack and stay in that place. Some days are going to feel great because you have felt how bad a day really can be, you are going to learn how amazingly strong you can be, you’re going to educate yourself about your condition and know more than you ever thought you could, you are going to join a community of people who suffer the way you do, a community who are strong, supportive and understand 100%.
You are going to be okay.