No one ever plans get diagnosed with a lifelong incurable chronic condition at the age of 21. No. My plan was to grow up, go to school, college and uni. Get a career doing something in IT – I hadn’t had time to narrowed down specifics yet – and get a career until I had enough knowledge perhaps start my own business in the IT Industry. A carer that allowed me to be a boss that didn’t need to be in the office 24/7 and still raise a beautiful little family and a beautiful home. A lifestyle where money wasn’t an issue and we’d have enough spare bedrooms for everyone to have their own room when ever family came to stay for Christmas. A huge field out back so the big kids of the family could show the young ones how real tree houses were built, and the old ones could sit in front of a log wood fireplace under blankets and watch terribly nostalgic films like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Zulu (A much-loved favourite of my step-dads)
A fault in that plan, made me feel like a failure, some days it still does. So triggered the anxiety.
I have talked a bit about my troubles with anxiety before, but this time I wanted to talk about how anxiety fits into the mourning process. In a little under 3 years and I am completely different person because of my condition, there is part of my life that I have had to say goodbye to (even if it is only temporarily) that I wouldn’t have had to, it didn’t have my condition. But it’s all been a part of grieving for the life I’d lost.
The 5 Stages of Grief for Chronic Illness or Pain
(From my point of view)
(A little over a year ago) 1 LP down and I feel great! At least I finally know that’s wrong with me. That good-looking neurologist says 3 LP max and I’ll have my life back, so realistically I’m okay. I don’t really see the point of taking this medication, because I feel fine. I just need to work, I only just got this job and it’s important to me. I’ll deal with my the pain if it starts again, for now I’m fine.
Why can i never get into see my neurologist when I need to?! And why does he never call me back? These meds don’t actually do anything! I’m sick of not getting any answers from anyone. The doctors are supposed to have the fucking answers but they don’t and sick and tic of tired of being left in the dark in pain. They’re so busy seeing everyone else they don’t have time for me.
I don’t understand where my life is going…I’ve wasted over a year of my life now being ill. What the hell am going to? I’m going to be like this for ever and I’m going to poor and my children, if i can even have children are going to be poor and I’m just useless. I’m so scared for my future, i don’t see how it’s gonna get better?
DEPRESSION (and/or ANXIETY)
I’m failing because I can’t work. I’m failing because I can’t protect my family, i’m barely strong enough to look after myself let alone anyone else. My family is getting stick and my sister is having to be the strong one…it’s my job to be strong and look after everyone because that’s what I’ve always done but I can’t. I don’t understand my purpose if I’m not able to do what I’ve always done. (honestly tearing up while typing, my anxiety for these parts of my life is this a big thing for me)
There is so little of my life I can control now. I understand I still have some thing I need to work on, and I remain hopeful that we find something that helps me feel better, but for now I have to remember I am doing the very best I can and not beat myself for the things that I am unable to do. I know that I love helping others and I enjoy my passion for IT so why not try putting them together.
The most important thing to remember here is that these stages, don’t happen in order, and they can change daily or even hourly depending how you feel. Just because you have reached acceptance it doesn’t mean “boom” your done *throws confetti” congratulations. Chronic illnesses are hard and relentless and draining, don’t beat yourself for being angry or having some anxiety because the shit you deal with…it sucks! Nearly three years on and I know now you’ll probably never leave this cycle but as time goes on you’ll find yourself sitting in acceptance a little lore often for a longer.