Having a chronic illness inevitably changes a person. You can’t run or hide from it. It will change you. It will change how you do things, how to plan, how you play, how to look at the rest of the world. Maybe this isn’t the most difficult part.
The most difficult part may be that while you are changing, morphing into a ‘chronic’ – those around you are not changing. I mean, they may try to change, or make small concessions because they feel obliged. They both love and fear you. They struggle to readjust their expectations of who they believe you should be. Immediate family often struggles with this the hardest. They are befuddled. Suddenly you stop being the person you were and who they thought you should be, into someone who lives like a chronic. My disease does me the favor of removing control over my own body. So I can’t jump out of bed in the morning, most days I can’t jump. I have to be conscious. I dream of being spontaneous. Spontaneity and my Meniere’s Disease does not mix.
I can longer be independent. Growing up, I had a lot of strong-willed, independent women to look up to. I wanted to have the muscles and strong-will like my grandmother, I wanted to have the backbone of my mother. I hoped to not need a man or woman to support me. I wanted to be able to lean on only myself.
So it’s time I face the inevitable myself. It’s time I adjust my own expectations of myself. Being selfish is a negative attribute, but when you are a chronic you have to be selfish. You have to learn to say no without explaining yourself. It’s so much easier to say than to practice.