Chronic illness and worrying


Every now and then my mind takes me to an inner place that I don’t want to face. These thoughts are fleeting but when it happens, my inner worries are revealed clear as a bell and as very real issues.

You see, I meet most situations with humour or funny dismissing statements. Humour is my primary coping mechanism. Humour keeps my mood up and my mind positive. Here are three examples of my behaviour and today that illustrate this:

The Dr finally got a cannula in my hand after a nurse had collapsed my veins twice, so I made a reference to the Derby day races on today and told him that he had just got a winner in the first race.

I was at the local shopping centre and eyed off these mobility aids and even took a photo thinking I might Facebook something about it later.

Mobility items for sale

I came home and joked about the nurse’s failure to use my veins today, calling the bruising and blood pools on my arms exhibit 1 and exhibit 2, and the Dr’s perfect effort, which is barely visible on my hand, as exhibit 3.

I know that these silly ways of thinking and referring to my illness issues are masking the serious side of illness and the things that I think and feel deep inside. Deep inside I’m worried.

I used to be quite a worrier about all sorts of things. I believe that lately I don’t worry so much about money, bills, holiday plans etc. I have somewhat relaxed about some things probably because I have different things to worry about now. Even though I spend a lot of energy trying to cover these worries I know they are there.

The worries relate to how I feel when my symptoms are bad. Chronic pain and constant severe fatigue messes my head around, it confuses me as to what I have to deal with. When I have bad symptoms my body loses strength and my mind loses confidence in my ability to stay in control of my life. I worry about things like:

– I may be 41 but how old do I look and act, shuffling along so slowly with a limp?

– am I kidding myself trying to ignore the pain I am in?

– what actually is this illness, are there more diagnoses to come and what could they be?

– how are all these medical issues and tests affecting my mental health?

– will I be able to keep working?

– will I be able to keep my house and what happens if I can’t?

– how devastated will I be if I eventually have to use mobility aids?

– who will be there for me if I do get worse?

– will I be able to lead the life I want?

– have I become pathetic shadow of my former self?

So today, I went into the pharmacy to collect my prescription meds. $91 worth today.

And I thought:

Other people my age don’t usually have to spend all this cash on a bag full of heart and pain meds. How sad for me that this is what my life has become.

It was about two seconds of thought, then I immediately moved my mind on to the pretty things in the pharmacy gift section as I walked out the door, then got in my car and drove home.

I know my worries will come out sometimes but they don’t deserve a lot of time and attention, that isn’t helpful to me at all. (Except I just went through it all again to write this post, but it is probably helpful to get it written down anyway).

I do better mentally if I use all my interests, hobbies, work and a fascination in life, to distract me and take up my mental energy and imagination. Plus humour. A humorous perspective on life is helpful too. That is how I cope.

Worry birds


About lisasretro

I'm a 41 year old teacher, single and have one adult son. I'm currently finding a new me and new style of living while learning to manage chronic illness. In short, my mind is over active and my body can't keep up. I love art, retro and vintage stuff, eclectic fashion and travelling anywhere and everywhere. I often also get all caught up in social justice issues, my fave being marriage equality, until it happens here in Aus. Bucket list enabled, hold on tight.

4 responses »

  1. I’d say you have good control of your situatiuon! Ability to find humor in the tough spells of our lives definitely helps smooth the way.

    I’ll share one, a favorite of mine, when I stood up too fast after the first session of dialysis. I collapsed, of course, on the floor. The attendants and nurses were aghast and struggled to get me back into the chair.

    If you’ve ever tried to get a weak person up from a fall (or yourself!) you know it’s difficult if they can’t help. I finally got it across to them that I had experience getting my elderly, frail father up when he fell, that if they could get me maneuvered onto my hands and knees, I could pull myself up onto the chair using upper body strength.

    After some effort, they finally got me on my hands and knees. I moved closer to the chair, and struggled to lift myself up with my upper body.

    “I seem to be a little short of strength here. If someone could goose me, I think I could make it.”

    The male nurse in this scenario got very serious and said, “Oh, we don’t do THAT here!”

    I don’t recall if I laughed there at the time, but I know I laugh every time I think about it! It is good to be able to laugh when things like this happen. I was in a hospital gown (i.e.,, not too covered to start with). Most of the attendants and technicians were female. I was embarrassed (um, “bare assed”). I was new to dialysis (which I only had to go through for a few days), and what I did was, in retrospect, obviously not too bright, but getting up to see the interior of the dialysis machine was my goal. They’d promised I could see it after the dialysis, and I just got too eager! I must have been a sight, sprawled on the floor in my obscene hospital gown, and they must have been in genuine panic because I could have injured myself very easily in my collapse. But the whole was funny!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just had to remark here: This is so funny!
      I have a passing out disorder myself and it’s not pleasant to be collapsing on the floor; it comes with some interesting circumstances. Yours here, is quite the zinger!
      I wonder if, when you asked for the bare-bummed goose, if they wondered if the whole thing was a charade. You just go around falling to get your kicks! πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for sharing this. Made me smile.

      And I agree, humor and less worrying is probably a good sign of better coping all-around.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So true. I can relate on many levels. Humor is also my go-to coping mechanism. And also, I don’t worry like I used to. Have I found such comfort and peace having traversed so many trials? Or do I just have bigger fish to fry these days?
    I’m sorry the Dr. appt was so lousy, Some nurses are bad vein hunters…

    Liked by 1 person

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