dizziness

When the Kettle of Care Boils Over.

I am currently crying as I type this post.
Prior to being ill, I was incredibly impatient and always stressed out over the tiniest of things.
Chronic Illness forces, not teaches, you to be patient.
You really do not have a choice. You have to take everything as it comes.

My symptoms have changed my personality and love for life, but not my care for others.
I have a tendency of putting others before myself, (to the best of my ability now that I am ill), and when they don’t do the same in return or are inconsiderate, I find myself slowly boiling like a kettle. I cannot stop caring for others. It is in my nature to put others before myself, time and time again, until one person or event pushes me to my absolute limit, and I boil over.
My explosion usually ends in tears and rage.

I saw a side of myself on the night of my birthday, which I was shocked by.
It was a horrible build up to the day illness-wise.
I was with someone close to me, and had not eaten or had anything to drink all day due to the nausea. I was exhausted, and so disappointed in myself for not being able to dress up, and go out to celebrate.
I took a bath and looked in the mirror, telling myself repeatedly, “You disgust me”.
The next moments are a blur because when I came out from the bathroom, something small was said which caused me to snap.

I screamed, I cried, I hit the chest of my friend over and over again with clenched fists until they ached. My actions cannot be excused, but for what it is worth, I am tiny, and he is very much larger than me. He said it felt like a child was hitting him. I lost all colour in my face. I fell to the floor. I started shaking. My chest closed up, and I said through wheezed breaths,

“I want to die, now”.

And I picked myself up and ran to the balcony.

What happened next can only be summed up as, a struggle.
I am thankful that I had him there that night, to pull me back.

I have seen him a few times since then, but nothing had been said, until the other night he was staring at me as I laid in bed, and he started crying.
He told me how the image of me that night – pale, weak and full of rage – haunts him.

And now, knowing that I selfishly used him as my punching bag, haunts me.

The past few months have been quiet.
No more “how are you feeling” messages, or visits.
There have been a few phone calls to talk about other people’s issues. I don’t know if I should be thankful for the temporary distraction, or feel jealous because the only issue I am facing, that nobody wants to listen to, is me being unable to manage my symptoms.

My body has been riddled by nausea, dizzy spells, weakness and an inability to digest anything I put into my stomach.

Day by day passes, and loose commentary flies around about me exaggerating my symptoms.
I notice that nobody cares like they used to. They are harsher towards me.
I sit in silence and absorb.
You are fat, you are too skinny.
You are unattractive, you are lazy.
You are selfish.
You are avoiding work.
You can’t do anything right.
You haven’t tried hard enough.
You are unappreciative.

Night by night, I reflect, and I feel the boiling water rising.

After a night of 2am stomach cramps, nausea that would not subside, snappy little comments from family and friends, I have hit that point of no return, again.
But this time, there was no screaming or rage, only tears and numbness.

I don’t care anymore.
I am alone.
I am weak.
I am worthless.
I am a failure.

My symptoms have taken out everything enjoyable about life.
I don’t think that the Depression ever disappears. Sometimes it hides for a little while, whilst your mind is preoccupied by the illusion of happiness. I have noticed that my brain latches onto the tiniest amount of positive energy that it can find, anything to keep me here another second. Sometimes it lasts a few days, sometimes a few months… but as soon as that glowing ray vanishes, I fall back into my pit, and deeper than before.

I don’t want to be here just as much as you don’t want me here.
And when I disappear, I don’t want the fake apologies, or the sudden interest in my illness and what I had to battle each day. I don’t want people to pretend like they gave a fuck about me.
I am trying to find some great reason to stay here, but I can’t.
My brain is completely clouded by negative thoughts, and I am so, so angry.
I am angry with the people I have heard from, and the people I haven’t heard from.
I am angry with my family, at strangers, Doctors and Specialists, but mostly, I am angry with myself. I used to be stronger than this.

When is enough, really enough?

I’m having a rough month.
It could go well into two or three months.
I have tried everything, everything.
I feel like I’m back to square one with the symptoms that haunted me at the beginning.
I visited my Gastroenterologist, after his month vacation, and told him that I’ve lost the five kilograms I put on, am in excruciating stomach pain, have constant nausea and am not responding to any medication.

I am tired.
I am tired of going backwards.
I am tired of telling him that I’ve gone backwards.
I am tired of explaining to people why I am “still sick”.
I am tired of being the guinea pig for a range of medications that are not making me feel any better.
I am tired of being told that I have this stomach disease, but am unable to manage it.
I am tired of my body being so fragile.
I am tired of paying Specialists money, and walking out feeling the same.
I am tired of wondering if something has been missed.

I didn’t mean to take it all out on him.
It kind of came out like projectile vomit.

But, he apologised.

I thought he’d then wipe his hands clean of my case, but he rewrote our action plan. New medication, one more test to make sure we haven’t missed anything, bloodwork and even a possible reference for a Neurological Gastroenterologist somewhere in the inner city.

The medication isn’t helping, and I still feel absolutely crappy, but I dragged myself out of there and said “thank you for helping”.

There is no manual to tell you how to handle a Chronic Invisible Illness. (Note to self – write an Invisible Illness Manual).
It’s all about trial and error, and taking chances/trusting complete strangers with your body. What is wrong? What is right?
I wish I knew.
It would have saved me many nights of excruciating pain and trips to the ER and Doctors.
You see every Specialist you are recommended to, you take every test, you try every medication and you even resort to trying out those people who “worked miracles” on your friends and family, in hope that they’ll be your knight in shining armour.

But, I keep coming up with blanks, and I’m sick of it.

When do I put my foot down and say, “I refuse to do this”?
No more appointments, no more referrals, no more medications, no more “have you tried this/seeing this person?”, and no more tests.
How can I manage something that currently cannot be managed? (And not by choice – my body is unresponsive to everything we have tried).
Do I keep pushing myself/spending money to see Specialists in hope that someone will find something different?
Will I ever find management or am I running in circles? Am I making myself more unwell by obsessing over the unknown? Over management that seems to be nonexistent?
When do I find peace?

I am surrounded by the darkness of this illness.

My life is my illness.

I cannot enjoy the company of friends or my loved ones, graduation, a career, driving, walking… without feeling these incredibly debilitating symptoms.

And, the sad truth is that nobody really cares.
Your Specialists take your money and send you away.
Your Doctors pump you with medication, painkillers, antidepressants.
The Government just want you back at work.
The ill just want to play a game of who is suffering the most.
Your friends aren’t interested in your sob story because they have bigger things to worry about than you being ill.

The bloggers like your post within two seconds of posting it, (almost never reading) but your stories are never really HEARD.
Your family have had enough, and just want you to be the person you were… “Normal” again.
Your partner is under immense pressure because they have become your fulltime carer/financial aid/transport/nurse, instead of lover.

Wouldn’t it be more simple if I just disappeared?
When is enough, really enough?

Birthday cake, wishes and nausea.

Happy birthday to me, on the 30th.

Birthdays, birthdays, birthdays.
You think of getting dressed up, and having drinks with friends or family, gifts, laughter, reminiscing over the past year and all of your achievements, and dreaming about the year to come and all of the progression you are yet to make.

I think of it being just another day… another lonely day.

More than anything, it is a reminder that time has not stopped whilst I have been sick.
I am still here with minimal achievements, answers, management, and oh yeah, I’ve aged another year.

Who invented the line, “happy birthday” anyway? Why is there an assumption that it will be a happy day? I now feel pressured to be happy on my birthday, but what if it isn’t the case?

I won’t lie. I have thought about this day for weeks now, and have silently wished for pure health upon waking. I want to have a happy birthday.
I have begged for a mere twelve hours nausea-free, dizzy-free, but I can now safely say that this will not be the case.

My recent rough patch has lasted over two weeks. It is still very much here. I wish I could say I knew what triggered it, but I don’t. I just woke up and went straight back to not eating, incredibly bad nausea which left me by a toilet/bucket/bag and an inability to digest ANYTHING.
I have lived off of a juice a day, a bottle of water a day… or days of nothing, for just over two weeks now.
It’s so frustrating to see that slight progress, and then to decline and not know why.
I stupidly forced large meals down my throat in hope that if I fought past the nausea, the food would decide it was happy in my stomach and digest without a problem (not the smartest idea, Cass).

I guess it did as expected, the opposite to what I hoped.
It rose to my oesophagus, burned the back of my mouth… I held a hand to my mouth and rushed to a bathroom in numerous occasions, but it decided that it wanted to go back down, struggled to digest and sat there for many hours rotting in my stomach.

And, desperation consumed me.
I was clutching at invisible straws.
I tried Ginger tea, Peppermint Tea, Apple Cider Vinegar, anti-nausea bands, acupressure, anti-nausea medication, lemon scented things, peppermint gum, barley sugar.
I googled anti-nausea remedies until my eyes burned.
I consulted social media.
Does anyone else have these super crazy moments of desperation where you try everything and anything?

It obviously lead to no success.

I visited my Acupuncturist, in hope that he could perform his usual magic and give me some relief. For once, I felt nothing upon leaving his office.
Whilst in my session, I cried for the first time.
Cried, blubbered, created an ocean of tears.

“I’m only twenty two!” I cried.
“I d-d-don’t want to live like this. I d-d-don’t know what I am d-d-doing wrong. How c-c-can I return to a job like this or even g-g-go out? I have tried eveeeeeeerything. When will this s-s-stop?”

*drowns in sorrow*

My Acupuncturist (having the sweetest soul on this planet) calmed me with his soothing, caring tone.
“I won’t give up on you. It’s just a rough patch, remember that”

So, my inner self dragged my sick self out of those doors and continued to tell myself up until this current moment, “it’s just a rough patch”.

Back to the celebration of my birth – usually, my favourite part of birthdays is the cake part.
I think there is something special (and equally awkward) in being surrounded by loved ones, serenaded in joyous song; then to blow out the candles, make a wish and celebrate by eating dessert.

I could wish for many things;
A cure for myself, management, freedom.
But I honestly wouldn’t choose any of the above.
I would ask for nobody else to have to suffer with what I have/like I have.

I can be brave and face this illness day by day, but the thought of another child growing up with this illness or an adult being diagnosed in their prime years, is heartbreaking.

Unlucky for me, Gastroparesis isn’t fond of any food, let alone cake. And, I love cake.
Which leads to me asking one thing from you.
If you are in good health on Thursday, please cut yourself a big slice of your favourite cake and enjoy every single bite!

I do hope though, that by some miracle, I wake up Thursday feeling great. If not, I will try and enjoy this celebratory day to the best of my ability, and stop being so hard on myself.

I am trying so hard to take this one second at a time. I feel really overwhelmed most days.

Be kind to me, illness.

A Letter to Myself.

Dear Self,

Today is one of those bad days.
You are curled up into a ball on the floor; your tears soaking into the carpet. You are crying so hard that you heave, and you cannot bear to stand up with a fear of falling straight down. The nausea is really bad today, and you have tried everything to relieve yourself from it, with no success. We have gone from eating consistently, to not eating at all.

You are planning your Goodbye Letters in your head, and you are telling yourself that you cannot go on another second with these symptoms.

You want to feel nothing, for once, instead of everything.

You have every right to feel this way.
Life never used to be like this.
I remember when things were much simple; where you had the strength to work ten overnight shifts in a row, and overtime. Night was day, and day was night.
They asked you to work on your day off, and you said yes every single time.

You worked when you were sick, and you worked when they weren’t even paying you to work.

The days went quickly and were jam-packed.
You were driving, going on roadtrips, Sunday breakfast dates, shopping days, you slept on the beach and woke up covered in sand at 3am. You were eating as you pleased, and had a bright future in mind for yourself.

You smiled more back then.

I guess you, nor I, ever imagined that something like this could happen, and that things would drastically change in the blink of an eye.

All of the things you used to worry about – not having enough money saved, having to work, being late, the petty little arguments with people – none of it matters now. We have been faced with bigger problems.

I know your mentality is being compromised, and you think it is easier to leave and give up, but I need you to stop for a second and just breathe.

I need you to see what I see.

I see strength.
I know you hate hearing that, but you ARE strong.
I can assure you that most people would not cope as well as you are with chronic nausea, stomach pain and dizziness; not to mention being stuck behind four walls, losing your job, the endless appointments and tests, and lack of answers…

I see someone who still manages to put others before yourself.
I see someone who can still laugh, even on the crappiest of days.
I see someone who is ambitious and continues to push their body to strengthen, no matter how weak they feel.

You say that you have made no accomplishments this year, but my dear, grief has clouded your vision.
Pre-illness-you could only make toast.
In the time you have been off, you have learnt to cook many meals and desserts… things you would not have had the patience for before.
You stress less about the smaller things, whereas before, you were one giant walking stress web.

Six months ago, you couldn’t get out of bed and you were eating zero day in and day out. Today, you are walking better, and for most days, you are able to eat consistently.
You may not have travelled, you may not have graduated, you may not go out partying every week or go on adventures with friends, or be working in your dream job, BUT you have grown up quicker than most people your age and I promise you that you are wiser than they.

You appreciate the smaller things that they are too busy to see, and once all of this is over, your love for life will be greater than your hate for this illness.

I am amazed by your ability to function with these symptoms.
I am astounded by your bravery, and wish you could see how much inner strength you have. When we beat this, not if, I hope you know that you can face anything thrown your way.

I know that the symptoms have prevented you from driving, travelling alone and engaging with others, but it does not for a second mean you are selfish, lazy, weak or a disappointment.
Stop wasting your time on the people who are telling you this; the ones who don’t message you back, or make you feel unimportant.

PLEASE, stop telling yourself that you are unattractive.
Your body has been to hell and back, and considering, I think you look quite good for a sick person. You have fat on your body now, rather than being riddled with bones. Your skin may have changed, and your hair is frail and falling out, but you are still beautiful.
You are measuring yourself up to people who hide their average features behind a veil of makeup.

Now here’s a touchy topic…
You better still be listening.

You are sitting there, feeling sorry for yourself, alone, and struggling to see how someone could love you with this illness.
And you are actually repeating to yourself, “how can somebody love me with this illness?”

Nobody loves you any less. Your true friends and family know who you are and that your illness unfortunately dims your light.
They might not know what to say at times, but I promise they want you to beat this as much as you do.
And, they will help you if you simply ask for it.
They want to see that smile reappear, as much as I, and they will help you in any way that they can.

Don’t listen to anyone who has told you that you are a burden, unlovable and will be alone.

You ARE loved, and you ARE lovable whether or not you have this illness. There is someone out there who doesn’t care about driving you to appointments or waiting with you through tests; someone who will listen to you cry on the worst of days and give you a reason to smile; someone doesn’t mind if you have to stay in for the night instead of going out, and would be happy to link arms with you when you are dizzy; someone who will lie with you when you are feeling nauseous, and give you massages when your body aches; someone who knows what you can and can’t eat, and who will do thoughtful things for you just because.

You WILL get married, move out, and one day you are going to be a wonderful mother who knows the ins and outs of the medical system (and you will definitely need to know that if you end up having those three boys you are dreaming of…)

I know today is hard, and I know the past few weeks have been hard.
Do what you can, and if you have to cancel on someone to rest, then so be it.

I know you are tired of making progress and then falling backwards time and time again.
Do not feel like you have to justify yourself to anyone, or come up with answers that you don’t have.

I know that today you are struggling to find a reason to stay, and I know how alone you feel.
Do not let the anger consume you.

I know that you fear this is neverending, and you’d like to end it all yourself right now.
Do not feel rushed to achieve all at once, or to get better.

I can feel you clutching at your last straw.

We may never reach 100%, remember.
We may never receive the answers we are desperately seeking, but we must continue to try.
We still have Specialists on our side who still believe.
Medicine is only advancing.
We still have some time.

If anyone can do this, it’s YOU.
We’ll take it one step at a time, I promise, and if nobody wants to come along for the ride, we will always have each other.

Love from Me.

The Pitstop Before The End.

I had the WORST experience I have ever had with a Specialist yesterday.
Chronic Illness brings one of two Specialists:
the nurturing, and the non-nurturing.
He was definitely non-nurturing. An older male who looked at me and saw a child who was “trying to make up excuses”.
He began his belittling speech, and I said absolutely nothing because I am completely iver this rollercoaster. I am numb.

“I expect you to be back at work in five weeks”

“I just came back from a trip to Africa, and people over there would give anything to have jobs opportunities like we do”

“You need to toughen up and stop running from work”

“The longer you prolong this, the worse it will be”

“You are the reason behind your depressed feeling”

“Your symptoms will ease when you return to work”

“I will be emailing a report to your doctors in regards to you not needing a Government Payment Application”

Straight after that appointment, I had my first Government appointment to plan for my application for the Disability Payment. In the first week of July, I am booked in to meet with a Government Employed Doctor and an Employment Officer, who will decide how many hours of work I am able to do a week.
If I wish to fight this, and go on to say that I am unable to work at all, I have to present my own personal Medical Bible to them. This includes every result I’ve had since December 2014, Specialist letters, medications, bills etc

I have unfortunately gone back to my extremely small portions and liquid diet, as my stomach is being non-negotiable, so I also had an appointment with my Gastroenterologist today.
He is in between the nurturing and non-nurturing doctor. He will tell me the truth, but still cushion me a little.

Reality is, I have to return to work eventually.
I have to deal with these attrocious symptoms and go back to a job of somesort. It will definitely not be fulltime. I will never be the same, and he admitted that. He also admitted that Childcare may unfortunately not be a good career path for me, as germs may set me backwards.
The chances of me waking up one day and being my normal self, are almost impossible.
Being ill, you know this. Somewhere deep down in your gut, you really know this, but do not want to accept it. I didn’t, until he said it today.

I listened to every word he said. He even spoke about the non-nurturing specialist and said that the older generation are less understanding when it comes to “invisible illness” and things like anxiety and depression. He feared that this doctor’s letter, would influence my other doctors into not helping me fight for a payment. But, he agreed that we (he and I) will fight for a three month payment, and if it is granted, we will review my case in three months in hope that I can return to work by then. But first, the Government have to say yes.

In the next two weeks, I have my final tests for intolerances to Fructose and Lactose.
I keep taking the digestive medication and hope that it works.
If I am unwell in three months, we push it to another three months. But by January next year, I should be at work.

This is a postviral condition that is nameless. I got very sick due to bouts of viruses during 2014, including two rounds of Shingles. My body could not cope. The virus attacked my digestive system, giving me the diagnosis of Gastroparesis. My nerves were attacked, giving me chronic neck pain. I am fatigued, which is pointing to a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The virus itself is gone, but has left an aftermath of damage.

It’s all about management now, and getting me back to work. There are no tests to be done, nor any medications to try. I must manage this, and put all of my energy into doing so.

I had a cry afterwards.
I wish I had a proper diagnosis, medication that cured me, and no symptoms.
I wish I could return to work in health.
I feel pressured now to get better, and go back.
But that is terrifying. What if I can’t? What if I am unable to work? I will not receive a payment. I will not have the money to pay for medication or appointments.
It has already been seven months. We are struggling to manage this. What if in six months, we are in the same place?

I am mentally and physically exhausted.

So, I will try and focus my time on pushing my body. I will do the Five Week Balance Exercises I have been given, and I will keep trying the stomach medication. I will continue to see my Acupuncturist and Osteo, and I will continue my liquid diet and try to manage my pain and nausea as well as I can.

I will try one last time, but after that if there is no improvement, I fear I will have no strength left in me to go on…

Glowing.

I thought I’d write a small post on one of the best days I have had in a very long time.
Every muscle in my body aches, and my stomach is now unsettled, so this will be another short one!

My sister did my makeup, making me look and feel halfdecent:

I can’t tell you how long it has been since I wore formalwear and had a face of makeup. I am usually at home, hiding behind a baggy tshirt, leggings, slippers and a beanie!

We went to a family Christening and then after-celebration.

The dizziness settled, and I was able to mostly walk around independently! I took a few breaks – kneeling down and sitting in the jumping castle.
Yes, a jumping castle because there were about ten little TODDLERS there!
You can imagine my excitement.
My heart exploded.
I felt like a kid in a candy store – so many children to play with, all of them too cute!

I feared, that having been off of work for a while now, I would’ve “lost my touch” but can I tell you – that was NOT the case.
I managed feeding, putting them to sleep, vomit all over my clothes, and of course playtime. I enjoyed EVERY SECOND OF IT.
I had parents praising me, asking me if I could babysit, encouraging me to start my own business (when I am better).

Mostly, I came home with a postglow, feeling hopeful;
Hopeful that one day I will return to the career that fills me with joy,
Hopeful that I will have more Good days,
Hopeful that my body CAN/WILL heal one day.

I must sleep now! I hope your days were as eventful as mine. If they weren’t – don’t worry. A day will come. I am certain.

THIS is what Chronic Illness looks like.

You all obviously know about the irritating assumption that we are not sick, because we don’t LOOK sick.

People associate illness with common physical effects like pale skin, an agonised facial expression, weight loss, tubes coming out of our noses, a tumor or wound that is VISIBLE.

What does Chronic Illness look like?
What do our symptoms look like?

N O T H I N G.
They are I N V I S I B L E.
They cannot be seen, but are very much REAL.

So, lets set the story straight once and for all.
THIS is the face of Chronic Illness:

This is what Chronic Illness looks like.

Nauseous – Dizzy – Nerve Pain – Neck Pain – Stomach cramps.

I really encourage you to take a similar photo of yourself, and post it with the title “THIS is what Chronic Illness looks like“.

Tag me in it – reblog me – don’t steal this page and mark it as your own!

You don’t have to show your face if you would like to maintain privacy. Get creative!

Be the face for Chronic Illness, and,

help spread awareness for our cause!

Chronic Illness Realisations.

There is a struggle to accept new norm.
I am at war with my mind, every day.
I cannot accept the fact that I have an Invisible Illness, or that it cannot (currently) be managed.
I cannot accept the fact that this is my life now.
I feel like I am having the same nightmare night after night, and haven’t woken.
Accepting this, makes me feel helpless… as though I have reached the end of my story and the illness has won.

Doctors are only good when dealing with black and white.
If you have a concrete diagnosis, then Doctors are probably able to offer assistance.
But hand them months of tests and mystery results, and they have no idea how to treat you and become less compassionate to your situation.
It is frustrating for us, but isn’t their fault. Our condition probably gives them anxiety as their hands are tied when it comes to treating us.

Depression and Anxiety are inevitable.
We are coping with a lot during this time.
It is natural to develop Anxiety and Depression somewhere along the way.
We have a right to feel anxious and saddened.
Most of our lives have been turned upside down.
But it is important to remember that your Depression and Anxiety are not solely your illness.
They are underlying… symptoms even.
Your Chronic Illness led to the development of your Mental Illness.

The body is fragile.
I underestimated the ability of the body to crash, and to heal. I had a small cold, or viral infection, and I would push myself to work, to study, to go out.
Those days seem a mile away now.
My body is weak, and if it were to get a viral infection now I fear it would take weeks to recover.
I am not as strong as I thought.
All of the rest and vitamins in the world, would not rid me of this illness.
We are fragile creatures.

The world does not stop whilst we are ill.
We may feel as though we aren’t moving, but we are. We are growing older each day… but our motions aren’t changing.
We aren’t achieving, we aren’t earning.
It’s like having our feet cemented in concrete. I can move my arms, think, see, feel. But I can’t walk to the end of the block. I can’t break free from the hold. Meanwhile, people are continuously passing…

People have more time to pass judgement than to offer assistance.
I, as I’m sure you, recieve a lot of opinions from people in regards to my illness, and what I should be doing to “make a full recovery”.
I cannot comprehend how people have the time to voice their opinions, but cannot use thirty seconds of their time to giving us a phonecall, or sending us a thoughtful “how are you feeling?” message.
The way I see it is you either have time for me, or you don’t. If you have the time to tell me about the herbal remedies your great grandmother passed down to you, and that I should try to go to a Gym, do Yoga and eat more – then you have time to ask me how I am or pay me a visit.

Relationships are much harder to manage.
I don’t know how couples have time to be romantic or work on their relationship when one of them is chronically ill. Maybe I haven’t found the right person yet.
Chronic illness puts strain on relationships – romantic or non. I find myself being forced to only worry about myself, and that is a hard thing to do. I also find that the partner must focus more on being a financial aid and feels as though they wear the burden if being the main punching bag for my rollercoaster of emotions.
Partners feel neglected, unable to cope with the changes. They also may feel like the person they were with at the beginning, is now gone.
The partner has to be prepared to take on a little more of the weight, which is unfair.
The cycle spins – love, pressure, frustration, anger… until finally there is a natural drift between the both of you, and neither parties have the slightest energy to go on.

There is, though, a rare handful of people who have found that one who accepts them with their illness and battles alongside them. They have a plan that works. And to those who have found these special, supportive people – I am happy for you, and I’m indeed envious.

We have to be our own best friend.
I’m not going to lie, I hate my body… I hate myself since being ill. I am not happy with my appearance, my mindset, my struggle to heal.
I am angry.
But, who really understand this illness?
Who has to live through the symptoms?
Who knows you the best?

You.

We are alone most days… so, you might as well begin to like yourself at least, seeming as you are the only one who can fight this, and you will be spending a lot of time together.

We take too many things for granted.
I have a lot of time to think, and therefore I have a lot of regrets.
I have taken large and small things for granted.
If I get a second chance at good health, I know I will do things the right way. I will take care of my body during infections, I will travel, spend my time with those who truly love me, spend more time with my family, not stress as much and make the most of every second.
I will change, because I see how much I have lost now, and I feel soul-less.

How about you?
Have you had any different realisations since being ill?

Tired.

My stomach is aching.
It hasn’t been this way for months.
I can feel every tiny thing that I consume, struggle to digest in my stomach.
The medication is meant to work.
Why isn’t it working?
How did my stomach just… change?
I think back to my diet over the past few days.
I must’ve slipped up, I must’ve slipped up somewhere.
But I can’t find where I went wrong.
It bubbles and gurgles away; bile rising to the back of my throat.
I sit outside for air, I drink digestive tea, I chew Peppermint Gum, I take anti-nausea medication, anti-stomach cramping medication… anything and everything.
The feeling doesn’t change.

I scroll away at Social Media, feeling further isolated from society.
Birthdays being celebrated under the stars,
Falling in love and going on romantic dates,
Exploring the world,
Working for great companies,
Absorbing knowledge through courses,
Tasting new cultures,
Engagements, weddings, children,
Conversing with friends over coffee…
And meanwhile, I am stuck here… alone.

This illness has stolen everything from me.
I am forced to cancel on people for gatherings because I am too unwell to attend.
I feel an anxiety when my symptoms are at their worst – I feel embarrassed to be in public. I feel embarrassed to feel nauseous, and have to hold onto someone for balance support.
On the other hand, people let me down too.
They aren’t willing to negotiate. They don’t understand that I’m unable to do “normal” things anymore.
If you’re too sick, then don’t come because I can’t put up with it”
“Lets go for dinner at this place… oh, you can’t. Maybe you can come with us when you are better”

Is it selfish of me to ask for these people to squeeze me into their routine, and alter the program a bit?
So, I can’t go out for dinner or ‘out’.
I can’t move from my bed.
But, you can come and sit with me for an hour?
Talk to me?
How silly, Cass.
People won’t alter their lives just because you are sick.

I was forced to stop working and studying, so my days are filled with mindless television and the struggle to walk to the bathroom and back.
I am unable to drive, and most days I am unable to look at my laptop screen or mobile.
I sit here and watch the sky change colour from dawn till dusk, and repeat.
Meanwhile, everyone is off living their lives.
I am forgotten.
My sibling works now, as do my parents. They are rarely home, and IF they are, we usually have appointments to attend. They do so much for me – their entire life has been revolved around me. When they decide to go out with friends, on days like today, I nod my head in agreeance.
I will be fine on my own, I tell them.
I lie.

Inside, I’m crying out that I need them to stay. Stay here so I am not tempted to leave.

No. They need to go. I need them to live their lives, even though mine has stopped.
On the days like this, where the depression swallows me, I picture my lifeless body hanging from the outdoor gazebo.
Why me? I ask. What did I do?
They can’t fix this, nor the Doctors.
Nobody truly understands, no matter how much I explain it to them.
Nobody understands until they go through it.
I rewrite my Goodbye letters over and over.
They are not perfect yet.
I’m tired of feeling, of being hopeful, of listening to advice, of fighting my own body. I’m tired of being told what to do, what to try. I’m tired of missing out. I’m tired of falling behind.
I’m so tired.