Back in the day (ie last year), I used to spend time with others talking about a book I’d just read or a movie I watched. We’d basically talk about meaningless stuff…and at the time it seemed to matter. W and I used to love to travel to retail shows selling our soap and chat with people spending hours outside. We would tend the garden or go for walks.
Flash forward to now and I’m amazed at how my life has changed. I find myself in conversation with folks and I’m not sure what to say. If they are fellow MS’ers, we chat endlessly about doctor’s appointments, our favorite MRI machines, wait times, new treatments, and infusion centers. Non MS’ers? I honestly draw a blank. I can still chat about whatever TV show I watched recently or book I just read, but my reading list has adjusted to include a few more health-related books then I would like and any TV show discussion tends to morph as health enters the picture as in “well, after my last infusion I was on the couch for two days and watched an entire season of X” (<– insert favorite show here). I’m afraid to do most retail shows now because I never know when I’m going to hit a certain level of exhaustion that just requires me to stop and I definitely can’t do much outdoors since I have developed the wonderful ability to overheat at a moments notice and tend to have trouble functioning when it happens.
I feel like a person who is losing touch with reality. Or maybe I feel like those around me have lost touch? I would like to say that being diagnosed with a chronic illness brought new meaning to my life, and some days I honestly feel that way, but other days I just feel spent and a bit lost. Like I became old overnight and left all the people my age behind. I just don’t know how to relate to them in the same way anymore. It sounds awful (and I promise I am not an awful person), but their complaints about relationships, daily life, and work can make me angry. They just seem trivial when looked at from a different vantage point.
I know all my anger and frustration has nothing to do with the person doing the talking and everything to do with me and my choice to interpret their words in that way. I know it is unfair of me and I imagine it is simply my grief once again manifesting itself in my life. I recognize it as something I need to work on and I hope that as I continue to improve illness can take a backseat in my life and I can return to the banter of daily life with a real, legitimate smile on my face.
For others with chronic illnesses who have been through this battle, does it get easier? Any tricks to that may help to ease me back to the other side?