When Chronic Illness Makes You Angry
Summer makes me angry.
For so many around me, it signifies the exciting beginning of evening meals made on the grill, family trips to the water park or theme parks, day trips to the zoo, long days by the pool or beach, lazily working on their tan.
For me it signals the beginning of days upon days spent inside, days of my lungs seizing the moment I open the door, of staying home when my family goes out. It’s a reminder of how much I hate Florida summer, of all that I cannot do.
For the first time in a long time, today I braved the aisles of Wal-Mart, thinking perhaps choosing my own food would give me some sense of ownership over my own life. Everywhere I turned sat reminders of summer–––end caps of sunscreen galore, rafts to meet your every spring floating need, pools, pool toys, bikinis, all shouting, “Look at how much fun we’re all having!”
My kids aren’t even out of school yet and I’ve already turned down multiple fun-the-sun invitations. It’s not that I haven’t told people I’m totally and completely heat intolerant or that I’ve skimped on the scientific blahty-blah behind how the heat cooks every infection I’ve ever had back to the surface or refused to explain how to the humidity sets off every imaginable symptom for me and thus I save heat intensive activities for special occasions, late evenings and my kids, it’s that they forget. They get to forget. They don’t have to make calculations about how the time in the sun will affect them, about recovery and childcare in the recovery time. They just get to go play. And sometimes that makes me angry.
I wish I could tell you that I’m perfect. That I never get angry. I wish I could say that I always feel grateful and never for a moment wish things were different. I wish I could say that it never hurts me when friends act inconvenienced by my limitations or used to my pain. But it does. I’m just a person. Just like you, doing the best that I can.
That’s the big bummer about chronic illness. It just goes on and on with no end in sight. Everyone gets used to it or sick of it, including you. And sometimes, that makes me angry.
And sometimes, the fact that I can’t just throw on a smile and be happy makes me angry. Or the fact that everyone else seems so happy.
I wish I could tell you I had some magic cure for being angry. I wish I had some way to send the anger back to the jar of undesirable emotions from which it came for good. But I don’t. I think being angry is a normal part of the grieving process. I think the start of summer causes me to grieve all over again, every year. I think I’m grieving all the things I won’t be doing, but want to be doing and it makes me angry. And that’s okay. I think it’s okay if you are feeling a little angry, too. I mean I know everyone wants to rebuke us and remind us to put our smiley faces back on because it makes them feel so much more comfortable when we wear our smiley faces. But I think our smiley faces will come back in time. Maybe around September? I think the important thing is that we don’t get stuck here. And how do we accomplish that? We talk about it. We don’t stuff it all inside and pretend it isn’t there. Maybe we see a counselor. Maybe we cry to a friend. Maybe we vomit it out in prayer. Maybe we choose D- all of the above. And this is important- we know wherever we may be in our grieving on any given day- we are not alone.
So, what are you feeling angry about today? Click To Tweet