Misunderstood, Alienated, and Alone
The “average” person doesn't understand how taxing it is – in all ways – dealing with chronic health conditions every single day. I’ve always struggled with feeling misunderstood and alienated from the majority of people, partially due to this.
Feeling misunderstood and alone
People don’t seem to be able to grasp that something is wrong with my body every single day. And most of the time, I can’t do much about it – if anything. This means I am physically in pain or uncomfortable 24/7. As soon as we don’t feel well physically, the emotional and mental aspect is added as well.
I’m sure you can at least imagine how it feels to be uncomfortable at all times and have to worry about physical symptoms, whether it’s chronic dry eyes, skin, allergies, or anything else. Still, even the most empathetic and understanding individuals don’t seem to fully understand the pain and struggle we go through every day. They can’t, because hearing and even seeing it is one thing. Experiencing it firsthand is a whole other.
I wish I could be a “normal” person who can have a “regular” full-time job, go out with friends, be active every day, etc. I yearn for that kind of normalcy. However, most of my life, I haven’t had it.
You never get used to it
I have to navigate multiple health conditions and the symptoms every single day. That comes with a lot of emotional and mental turmoil and exhaustion. In some ways, we do get used to it, because it feels routine to us. After all, what other choice do we have? On the flip side, one can never truly get used to being uncomfortable or in pain every single day. Doing it for many years, while making us a pro at it, also depletes us.
I personally feel exhausted every single day – and I do mean every day. I wake up exhausted, and I go to bed exhausted. It is extremely rare that I have a day where I feel full of vitality and ready to seize the day. After dealing with chronic illnesses most of my life, my very life force and essence feels depleted, not just my physical body.
It’s a daily battle
Dealing with symptoms of chronic dry eye, eczema and topical steroid withdrawal, allergies, etc., completely depletes me, and this makes it hard to have any life outside of that. I struggle with friendships and relationships. It seems most people don’t even WANT to try and understand and walk a mile in our shoes. Frankly, sometimes I wish they could – just for a day to see what it’s like.
I feel misunderstood, alienated, and often not heard by many people in my life. I know it doesn’t come from ill intentions, but it is still extremely frustrating and painful. Most of the time, people just want to be seen and heard. And most people are not comfortable looking into the darkness and pain – whether it’s their own or someone else’s. My frustrations often come out even in my closest connections. I try to explain myself and my life, but don’t feel understood, and only end up feeling disappointed and more alone.
Never measuring up
This creates a constant loop of overthinking, anxiety, and not feeling good enough. I never quite feel like I’m living up to others’ standards of what they want me to be. It is like they see me the same as they see themselves – like a healthy person who has the luxury of being able to do whatever I’d like whenever I’d like. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all.
Success and accomplishment look very different to me than most others. For me, sometimes a successful day is just being able to get out of bed or take a shower. Most people can’t fathom living this way.
I have done my best to accept this, but still have a long way to go. I get frustrated when I don’t feel heard by the people I care about. Thankfully, we have communities like this one where we have an outlet and people to connect with who truly do get it. Some days, that’s all that keeps me going.
But as long as we hold onto something – whatever it may be for each of us – somehow, we can get through the next day, and the next, and the next.
Quiz: Having dry eye disease over time can lead to what condition?