Dear fellow writer. You are about the same age as I am. I wanted to write to let you know how moved I was by your article you posted on yahoo. I, too, like so many others suffer from a health issue that I was once afraid to share in fear of how future friends, companions, or strangers would respond to it. I read your article as I was hunched over under blankets in pain because I was trying so desperately to distract myself from my current state of discomfort. As soon as I finished the piece I did a little fist pump in agreement to your words and felt like a weight had been lifted off my own shoulders. Reading what you had to say about your personal struggles with keeping a condition secret made me feel empowered and not as overwhelmed as I usually do when having to face talking about what I go through. I want to be able to share how I am feeling instead of hiding it. Because I know there are others out there who are feeling ashamed themselves. Health issues can plague anyone but for some reason it seems to be improper to talk about them. Yes, we don’t have to share every detail but why are we feeling guilty when it’s something we don’t always have control over? We really aren’t alone. There are numerous cases and various health concerns that rather than address we hide in the corner with. I’ve been where you are. I made the decision to tell friends about what was going on because it was the only way to explain why I couldn’t always keep up with what they wanted me to do. I’ve experienced two types of outcomes. While, one friend decided it was an “inconvenience” to deal with my issues another has supported me 100% throughout. I was outraged and shocked by the reaction of the first friend when we first addressed the elephant in the room. As I look back on it I can’t blame her entirely for not understanding exactly what I had to face on a daily basis. I think unless you experience it firsthand it will always be somewhat of a problem to grasp how difficult it can be. She offered a whole list of things to do that she believed were helpful solutions and I knew she was hurt when I had to decline. It’s not because I didn’t want to participate but that I knew I couldn’t. Distractions are great but there are too many instances where the pain is too unbearable and can prevent me from joining in. This led to a decline in our friendship. I know she was trying to be supportive but her type of support wasn’t the best for what I really needed at the time. I do have another friend who has seen and heard the worst of it from me and knows exactly how to respond. I think the main reason we can make it work is because there is acceptance that runs through our friendship. She knows too well how hard it can be on certain days and she doesn’t hold canceled plans or deep confessions over me. If one time doesn’t work, we work around it. We can go months not seeing each other and we’ll bounce right back in sync. She checks in and we talk openly about how both of us are feeling and there’s no underlying tension to interfere. I know it’s not always easy but never once has she made me feel like my personal situations are a burden. Even as I deal with a new issue that has arisen she continues to ask me how it’s going. I am seriously grateful for all she has done over the years and patience she’s had. There will be the ones who can handle it and those who will not. But thanks to your article I am hopeful that it doesn’t have to be a stressful factor all the time.
I’ll include the link to the article and I hope that is alright. Maybe you’ll see this, maybe you won’t. But wherever you are I thank you for sharing your story.