What Do You Expect From Me?

What Do You Expect From Me Pic Feb 2016

 When dealing with chronic illness, a  person, understandably, thinks quite selfishly.  Their thoughts revolve around how to survive each new or recurring symptom of their disease with maturity and patience.  Others may consider those who are chronically ill as self-centered and, to a degree, we are.  This is because of necessity, not because of a character default on our part.


 Therefore, when healthy people interact with the chronically ill without previous understanding of their condition (most likely because they have never been through anything similar themselves), they place expectations on the performances and response of those ill individuals.  A sick person lives in their own world full of pain, while healthy people tend to focus much more on the world around them, such as their jobs, relationships and social standing.


 To be frank, dealing with others’ expectation of those of us who are ill can be just as hard as dealing with the disease.  At one time in my life, I adhered to others expectations of me and made it my goal in life never to disappoint those close to me.  Because of that demand I placed on myself, I lived a very unrealistic life where I worked full time, attended school, volunteered, kept the house sparkling clean (even the trash cans were cleaned weekly), kept up a busy social life and maintained a long-distance relationship (which brings its own unique difficulties).  The end result was, of course, a breakdown from my body.  Unfortunately, it took multiple breakdowns, physically and emotionally, until I learned my lesson.


 As chronically ill individuals, we will never be free of expectations from others. NEVER.  Most likely, they will always expect more from us than we can ever give because, if they are healthy, they get those results from the other healthy people surrounding them. It is not our job to make other people happy, nor is it our job to fulfill their desires for us.  The only way to maintain a healthy relationship, both with our own body and with others, is to live according to the restrictions set upon us by our disease.


 Sound harsh? It is.  But once we accept our own limitations and have confidence that we can still live a wonderful life in accordance to those limits (and we can!), we actually give others the freedom to accept us exactly as we are and to back off on the pressure they place on their own lives.
 I am not giving you the freedom to be lazy; however, as I have learned, there is still much you can accomplish from the couch.  You may appear lazy to others, but trust yourself and your body to tell you when you can get up and do something, and when you can’t.  Your gut instinct will not lead you wrong. Don’t pay attention when others get angry with you for not accepting that dinner invitation or pursuing that high-powered career; do what is best for you and you will be much happier and in turn, make those around you happier.

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