“Miraculously recover or die. That’s the extent of our cultural bandwidth for chronic illness.” ― S. Kelley Harrell
I recently gave a friend an analogy of what my life feels like. As I’ve mentioned before, I have MS, asthma, and ADD.
Here it is:
“Picture carrying around a 20 lb. rock with you everywhere every day.
The first while, it’s easy – no big deal! But after a while, you get tired, you want to put the rock down, but you can’t. You have to take it everywhere – you take it driving, you take it to bed, you take it shopping, eating, working, etc. The rock gets in the way of everything – writing, typing, sex…everything.
Than on top of the rock, you have people telling you that it’s an excuse, your imagination – you’re just making it up, it’s not that bad. That rock is light, you couldn’t possibly feel that bad. Meanwhile, your joints have become arthritic from carrying it. Your hands are numb. You’re becoming bent. But you beat yourself up because like everyone says – it’s just a small rock, what’s your problem? They say you just don’t have the willpower and think you’re just being lazy and making it up.
You become depressed to the point that you would rather sit home with the rock than go anywhere and feel judged. The rock won’t go away, you wish it would. You try and try to carry it better, longer, harder? No one sees it – they just see that you are slower and slower and that it looks like you do nothing to change. BUT not only do you have the rock to carry, you still have to maintain life for your family – drive everywhere, plan everything. You have to work full time to support them and just keeping up with all of that and the rock saps you of what little energy and strength you had – but people always expect more and more of you. “You have your lunch hour – what’s your excuse for not doing anything then? The Rock doesn’t stop you, what’s your problem? The rock is just your excuse.”
The weight of comments and the rock become so heavy that life feels worthless except for your kids. Thoughts invade your mind that you never thought would. You start medication to help control the thoughts, to help you stay awake, to help you sleep – to help you live.
The rock keeps trying to drown you, but you keep reaching the surface for air. Sometimes the rock feels like it isn’t there anymore, sometimes it feels like a thousand pound bolder. But you keep trying.”
Josh Groban – You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)