It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet and what is sand.
When faced with challenges in life, be it health or otherwise, if you are lucky you have an anchor. That person in your life who holds fast, keeps you grounded and steady in spite of the storm that whirls around you.
Living with chronic illness can be especially taxing. In the getting sick phase* you are just plain unwell. Every day, for months or even years. If it’s not an easily identifiable illness, searching for answers can seem like a maze with endless dead ends, and no hope of ever re-establishing some kind of normal. When you get through the phases of being sick and grief and acceptance to the living well phase*, your life probably won’t be like the one you had before. Some kind of modifications will have to occur. Through all of this you are dealing with losses. While some of them may seem small, when piled one on top of the other, they can be soul crushing. Those closest to you bear the brunt of the sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration and hopelessness you feel.
I am lucky. I have an anchor, someone who knows who I was and who I am, and is ok with the difference. Someone who believes, in spite of not having an official label, that this illness is real, because they live it with me. Who is there to support me when I need it and is happy for me when I do not. Someone who encourages me to create the new life I am building. Who is willing to walk this path with me, even though it’s not what we envisioned. You’re the rock under my feet, in what for a long time seemed like a sea of sand.
*phases described in You Don’t Look Sick! Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness, Second Edition, by Joy H. Selak and Steven S. Overman, MD, Demos Health, 2013
Image: ©Deann Stein Hasinoff Anchor 2017, Digital drawing