When you live with a chronic illness there are things that you become dependent on other people for, things that you used to be able to do but because you’re not very well you can’t do that any more. For me personally there are a lot of things that I used to be able to do which I do now rely on people for. I do have days when actually I can do things myself but on my bad days there are a lot of things that I will need help with and it’s the same for loads of other people with chronic illnesses.
You totally lose your independence as a human being, it’s like when you are baby you don’t have any independence you’re totally reliant on your parents for everything. I’m not saying it’s exactly the same but when you get a chronic illness it’s like you’re repeating that whole stage again and everything that you have learnt you suddenly can’t do any more and you again have to become reliant on your friends and family for things.
As some of you know I suffer with M.E and fibromyalgia which both can cause very debilitating symptoms and some days leave me completely bedbound and 90% of the time I am housebound because I am not well enough to go out and do things like other people my age. When I have to have help with things I feel like a burden and I get frustrated with myself because I physically can’t do the task I’m trying to do, whether that’s because I’m completely exhausted or in too much pain. I feel like if I accept help, that I am admitting defeat, people tell me that that’s not true but for me that is something that I am still working to overcome.
There are a lot of things I’ve lost my independence with and the ones I’ve mentioned are only a few of those things which I now rely on other people to help me with. Only last night I had to get my boyfriend to cut my dinner up for me because my arms were too weak and felt like they were being held down by weights. I have even had to be fed a few times when I get very bad, I find it all very embarrassing and humiliating. I’m very lucky to be around people who really understand and will help me regardless and I know for others with chronic illnesses this is the hard bit actually getting them to understand that you do need help. I have to have my hair washed because my arms feel so heavy that I can’t lift them above my head for more than a couple of seconds because it tires me out soo much. When I go out of the house I have to use a wheelchair a lot of the time because I’m too exhausted to walk which means someone has to push me because I can’t do it myself. A lot of the time I do feel like a burden and that other people shouldn’t have to help me because I should be able to do it myself but I can’t because I live with multiple chronic illnesses which makes things very difficult. It took me a long while to even accept that sometimes I do need help with things but most of the time people really do want to help you and we shouldn’t be afraid of asking for a little bit of help. We have to allow ourselves to accept the help from those who offer. It’s hard, trust me I know from experience but it will make it easier for those of us living with a chronic illness, we can’t help the fact that our illnesses cause us debilitating symptoms and have a huge impact on our lives.
I’ve been chronically ill for about 3 years now and I’m still learning each day, I still am learning to know my limits. I still have times where I push myself way beyond my limits and it’s hard because all I want to do is keep up with my friends and family and be independent for my age. Growing up I always took my health and independence for granted, I never really thought about it until I fell ill and now all that I took for granted has been taken from me.
It’s been very hard for me to write this post but I hope that by doing so even if it only helps a few people with chronic illnesses feel less alone with this and that actually it’s okay for us to ask for help when we need it. Why should we be made to struggle more than we already are.
Remember it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. My email is under my contact details if any of you reading this want to reach out for a bit of support.
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All my love,