Solo trip to Struggletown

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Struggletown

Being an independent person is starting to feel like a problem. Being an independent person has got me used to relying on myself and used to not needing or asking anyone for help. I like being independent. Actually, it is all I know. This is a good trait, yes?

No. Because when you have a chronic illness your body makes it very difficult for you to stay independent. With an unlimited budget, you could do it. But the fact that illness leads to difficulty working means that money is not in abundance. Eventually there will be times when you will need help. With a caring and supportive spouse or family, you could do it. However, many people with chronic illnesses report that their families do not support them how they need, that their illnesses are not trusted as real or that they are spoken about behind their back and called names such as lazy.

Probably even worse is the position that single people with illnesses find themselves in. They need help but don’t know what to do about it. Probably don’t know what to ask for help with and possibly don’t even have anyone to ask.

Illness tends to drive people away. You cannot be relied on anymore, you’re always sleeping or sick or staying home to rest. You aren’t fun anymore, you stopped taking risks and staying out late and being energetic. Pain is a boring topic. A future with you started to look sad and boring and way too much hard work.

There is a cycle happening here. Before you know it you are ill, isolated, lonely and depressed. There’s no surprise then that the chronically ill account for a large percentage of suicides.

Some American stats to ponder, from invisibleillnessweek.com:

– The divorce rate among the chronically ill is over 75 percent.

– Depression is 15-20% higher for the chronically ill than for the average person.

– Physical illness or uncontrollable physical pain are major factors in up to 70% of suicides.

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10 responses »

  1. I’m terrible with the asking for help part. It’s something I’ve been working on, but I still see myself as weak if I have to depend on anyone else than me.
    From my experience, most men are not mature enough to deal with a partner with such complex issues as ours, but I sure hope I just had really bad luck and not all men are like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We are taught not to be weak, that we have to get out there and get our own happiness. That is becoming impossible for me lately. My ex husband would have been good with supporting me, my ex partner couldn’t handle it he left 3 weeks after my diagnosis with fibro. One good, one not good. Third time lucky, if I ever find him, will be a good guy ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, I was raised by a divorced mother who implicitly taught me it’s best not to rely on other people.
        Fingers crossed for you and me, and all women out there who go through chronic illness without a sympathetic partner.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This resonated so much! I love how you just laid it out how it is, no sugarcoating the depth of agony that being abandoned or looking for help and not seeing it anywhere can cause, no trying to justify the loneliness or be defensive about the ensuing depression, because there is no reason for us to waste energy being defensive about the very real isolation/anxiety/depression that plays into chronic illness or comes along because of chronic pain. This is a refreshing way to read about the way it is all connected.
    It is extremely hard for me to ask for help, especially in a straightforward way. I like to describe my troubles and see if anyone responds, but usually I have to be more direct and call someone for a ride to a doctor’s office or ask my boyfriend, yet again, to fit my needs into his very busy schedule. It’s why I don’t seek treatment after treatment anymore, why I don’t go to the ER, why I tough out week after week of agony without going to the doctor just down the street. I am so extremely unhappy about losing my independence, as I had only just found it, a few years earlier. Having to ask for help getting to and from those things feels like failing mostly because it is so inconvenient for those around me and I like to be helpful, not inconvenient. Most things involving chronic pain and illness are inconvenient to the people around me. I feel sure that I have a limited number of times I can ask people for help and then I will have used up my help from that person and never see them again. I used to be the one who could be counted on! That’s frustrating too. I was the ride-giver, the errand runner, the employee who wanted overtime at work, the cook and the cleaner and the gardener at home. And I was enthusiastic about it, and even when I couldn’t do it all, it was alright because I was doing enough. For people to believe that I would give that up without a fight is heartbreaking. Just… how much of a fight do I have to keep putting up before I will feel legitimate in asking for help?
    Good post, very thought provoking! Thank you for writing it and being so honest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the feedback. It’s hard to know who is the one to ask for help, hopefully you find that someone in your life does not have a limited amount of compassion. Keep working through it, at the end of the day we can only do so much, we can just try ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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