It comes in all shapes, all colours, all sizes. It grows everywhere – in trees, on the ground, under the surface. It casts shadows, sometimes just lightly, sometimes blocking all the light. In some cases it gives some latitude but other times it restricts the victim so badly it’s suffocating. Even until death. It’s called shame.
My current shame (the worst one…) is sickness. It comes with several variations with different names. But the thing is – I’m not fully capable of living this life as I “should”: Work full time, take care of the home, hubby and kids, take part in social acrivities. Let me tell you: It’s not easy!
At the moment I’m on part-time disability until October, working only 15 hours a week. I’m avoiding social situations, preferably just staying by myself. Shopping, cleaning, laundry – anything – feels overwhelming to get done and having completed one task I’m pretty much done for the day. Anything more and it takes even longer to recover. I’m feeling lazy and useless. A burden to both the society and my family.
Saying “I have Sjögren’s Syndrome” (even though almost nobody knows what that is) or hypothyroidism or fibromyalgia is mostly ok. But telling them that I suffer from depression and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) goes beyond (my) limit. They are shameful words and label me as a failure. A mental case!
Really. Mental illnesses, even depression, are very heavily stigmatized, even today. People take it as either faking, a made-up condition – or something weird and scary that pretty much transforms the person into an alien if not something worse. Those who accept it (or try to) don’t know how to behave with the depressed person. Even if s/he was their close friend. (Not to mention employers who either don’t hire depressed people or then try to get rid of them asap.)
So, the illness leaves you really lonely: You feel isolated, you’re left alone – and because of the illness you don’t have it in you to seek contact but you withdraw yourself from people. Then add the other, “real” illnesses which too take up your strength, and you’re a lost case. I have started to perhaps understand a little why so many people take their own lives. It really is tough and often feels very hopeless.
So, that’s roughly my life at the moment. Added with financial struggle, a coming gall bladder surgery and a newly found cyst in my kidney that needs further examination. Yay. But I’m still hanging there, somehow. Day by day.