Part of being “The Chronic Mom” is being chronically ill. Lucky for me, most of my illnesses are invisible, you can’t tell from simply looking at me that I’m ill. I don’t have many external symptoms but I have plenty you can’t see. Besides the diagnoses, the pain, nausea, there’s so much more wrong.
Of all the issues I face while being chronically ill, what I call “chronically ill thinking” is one of the worst.
For example, some people will assume I fake being ill. They can’t see where there’s anything wrong with me, any signs of my many illnesses. I don’t look sick. I’m not in a wheelchair etc. Therefore, I must not be sick.
Honestly, though, I mean answering “I feel like shit.” multiple times a day is so much fun, at least I always know what to say, who wouldn’t want this life. If you haven’t tried it, you really shouldn’t. It sucks.
Others assume that because I’m chronically ill and am forced to focus more on myself and health than most, means I’m not thinking of my friends (assuming I had any and I don’t) or family. That all I think of are myself, my needs. That couldn’t be further from the truth, I think of everyone else every day. I think about how much Rob shoulders and carries because of my chronic illnesses, needs, and lifestyle changes. He shoulders things we are supposed to be carrying together, I get that. I wish I could do more, be more. For now, I try to tell him how grateful I am for him as often as I can.
I think about how my 12-year-old, Elliott Richard, is basically the big brother to both Emmett John and Gavin, who will be 19-years-old in January. Then I think about how he feels the need to care for me whenever I’m the least bit tired or in pain. I can’t stop him. Lord knows; I’ve tried. I’ve even begged him to go play and I’ll take care of myself. He still won’t listen. “Mom, you’re sick. Let me help you.” He’s 12 years old, he shouldn’t be caring for his mother, at least not yet. I should be caring for him. I’m the mother. Yet, in our lives, it doesn’t work that way. Then I say a prayer that it will have nothing but positive effects on their futures. Especially Elliott Richard’s, he deserves it simply for everything he does to care and love me.
I think about how my boys must see me. They are invited to elaborate birthday parties and those parents are up and about, physically involved. While I can’t give that experience to my Boys. They can’t have friends over because I struggle, at best, to complete simple tasks around the house. Folding and sorting a single pile of laundry exhausts me to the point; I need a nap and I’m useless for the rest of the day. Hell, there are days I struggle to take Ruby out!
I think of these things on loop, among other things. Everything I’ve thrown on top of Rob. Who is struggling at times as it is. The guilt of that is enough to crush me some days. The Boys take on far more responsibility than I’d like. With all of the pressure that my chronic illnesses causes, I often take too much on myself physically on my “good days” to attempt to compensate for every day I’m down, which only serves to help dig a deeper hole than I started with. Then I wind up taking it out on anyone crazy enough to come near me.
Sometimes I feel I’m just trying to bullshit myself so I can feel a little better about my station in life. It isn’t working by the way.