“Those 3 dreaded words: “I miss you.” They make me feel resentment and sadness. Because as much as you may miss me, I miss myself even more… But what happens when you suddenly become chronically ill, and who you are, becomes who you were?”
You should feel good when someone says that they miss you. That there is something about you that someone missed and feels compelled to gravitate towards you once more. But like Kat said, when you become chronically ill, who you are, becomes who you were. You are no longer the same person.
Know what changed about me when I got sick? Let’s start basic, shall we?
– I couldn’t walk anywhere without getting breathless.
– I couldn’t undress myself without help.
– I could only manage very small meals.
– I needed help get up and to the bathroom.
I grew very dependent on my parents and the nurses on the Gastro ward to take care of me. I needed help. Alot of it some days; and on one admission, help even to get out of the bed. I was a wreck, a mess. I hid away. I didn’t want anyone to see what or who I had become. No one outside of my family saw me whilst I spend my 6 weeks in hospital. No one.
And when I came out and got better and got stronger, I still had challenges ahead of me. My medication meant I couldn’t drink. My sick notes meant I was house ridden for two months. I was desperately in need of some comfort and some social interaction. I was scared. I was no longer bubbly Lou. I was thin and frail and constantly worried about my image, my mind and my thoughts. I was worried sick about saying too much to someone who knew nothing of me. I was scared of changing my entire life. I was afraid I would ‘mess it up more than it already had been’.
A warped sense of self yes?
I still miss me. Who I was before becoming a Crohnie.
I miss the carefree person I was. The person who knew nothing of scopes, and CT scans, and blood tests, and poop, and Azathioprine, of Humira and scars and cannulas and surgeries and nurses and medication jargon… nothing of hospitals and appointments and frustration over the NHS. None of that. I miss the long thick head of hair I had. I miss my slightly flatter belly. I miss the distance I had from certain emotions, I miss my depression free days. I miss… I miss it all.
Some people clearly wish I was the same as I was. One person even told me as much; that he wanted the pre-Crohnie Lou back in his life. Of course, this is impossible. It made me very very sad to hear, for another human being wish for something so very unattainable in such a selfish way. It burns me still.
But I can’t be that person ever again.
I can look at photos and remember back to that time in my life; be transported back with my memories to 2010 and before with fondness and nostalgia, but that is as far as it can go. The photos hurt too much: that just can not be the same person, it simply is not possible.
Is this all at all possible? Is this it now? Will I ever make peace with it? And when I do, how long will it last before it changes again?