It's time to write again. Tonight I went out to a social event with some people I've known for a while and others who were new to me. It brought up stuff, thyroid and illness related stuff.
I haven't written here about my thyroid much lately; I'm not too sure why, maybe I'm sick of talking about it? Maybe I think I should stop talking about it, let it go and focus on other more positive things. The problem with that is that it's not over, it's not over 'til it's over. The journey of what it is to be unwell is continuing. I am now experiencing symptoms of an underactive thyroid due to my medication for the overactivity. I am having 3 weekly blood tests to keep an eye on things, hopefully soon I will be off medication and my thyroid will function 'normally'. People think that being physically sick is the only problem with illness. That's a myth, there is so much more to deal with than one would imagine.
When you've been sidelined for 9 months of your life, made a forced resignation from your job, spent 2-3 months at your parents place (300km from your life,friends & partner), lost 15kg (and put 4 back on), lost fitness and muscle strength and struggled to maintain self-confidence at times- well your life looks and feels really differently to anything you have ever known.
Once you've been so unwell that you dread hairwashing day because it's too long to have to stand for in the shower, your perspective changes. When you've been so unwell that driving yourself around the corner to the Dr's is a new and exciting achievement- your view of your life and what it's all about changes. When you have lay in bed day after day, week after week wondering why you can't get out of it without feeling horrifically lightheaded, anxious and exhausted-your reasons for wanting to live and to be healthy, they change.
I haven't come across alot of people who can say that they identify with my experience; but I know that chronic and debilitating illness has affected many. It's quite likely that because I'm in my 20's I have far fewer people in my life who have been chronically ill.
So when I meet someone who I don't know or don't know really well and they ask what I do for work, at the moment I have to tell them 'I do nothing'. It is a strange and unexpected answer to most. Therefore I follow up with an attempt at explaining briefly why I don't have a job right now. I often tell them what I used to do, to satisfy their curiosity about the 'type' of person I might be. We all know that asking someone's profession or line of work helps us to think that we know them better, somehow.
I must admit that I really hate telling people that I do 'nothing' and following up with the story of illness. I never wanted to be the person who had that story. But I do and that's not going to change, even as my circumstances change, I will always have the story.
I hate sympathy and telling sad stories, I like to talk about other stuff. My story usually elicits some confusion and sometimes sympathy, depending on how I tell it. When I say I had an overactive thyroid, most people don't really know what that means. I can choose to give a basic overview or go into the particular effects it had on me and my life. When I do this I begin to feel like I'm eliciting sympathy (or not making sense) and it's around this point where I wish the story wasn't true...and most definitely wasn't mine to tell. One of the most frustrating things though, to be really honest, is that people just don't 'get it'. How could you really understand unless you'd been there and seen it first hand or experienced it?
Being so seriously ill was truly my own personal experience of hell, I reffered to being in my own personal hell for many many months. It was the worst time of my life, the hardest time. I don't want to get all optimistic right now, cos I am over that for today, but it was also the hugest learning curve of my life and I am really grateful for that- there have been many blessings in the disguise of illness. Unfortunately I feel unbalanced because I so often share the positives and I feel like I am not being honest to myself when I focus on the light rather than allow the shadow some air time. People like to say 'be positive' and they also like positivity in general; well I am! But sometimes you can be way too positive and everyone thinks you're more well than you seem. I always do my best to come across as well as I can, to be as positive as I can, to be as happy as I can. 99% of the time this works for me and I prefer this approach; but it needn't be at the detriment of not acknowledging the crap or not fully allowing those close to me to see what my true experience of this illness is.
If you've had a similar experience to me please do leave a comment. Also, if you have never had such an experience, your thoughts are much appreciated- I won't hold good health against you :-)
On a brighter note, you might enjoy my new web-site Inner Beam.