The other day Instagram launched “ask me a question” on their stories someone asked me…
“when is the right time to share with a friend or partner that you have chronic illness”
And this question really got me thinking. My short response was: “I like to be quite upfront now. But I think it all depends on the person – it’s really up to you and what feels right! Trust your instincts.” But I couldn’t get this question off my mind. Yes, I like to be upfront now and get it out of the way but I wasn’t always like that. I was self-conscious and highly anxious over it all (and still am at times). So I want to break it down and share what I went through and what I learnt from it all.
“I like to be upfront now” stemmed from years of feeling uncomfortable and just not confident with myself being “sick”. I thought that living with chronic illness made me less of a person. I didn’t even fully understand my illnesses so how was I expected to explain it all to someone?!? Naturally, being unable to make sense of my unpredictable illnesses, I thought it must be impossible for them to understand.
I used to think people would have to love me in spite of my illness but THAT IS SO WRONG – being ill doesn’t make you less of a person but an even stronger one. My illness has shaped me in so many ways. I have grown so much and I happen to like the person I have become because of it. If I didn’t get sick I wouldn’t have this account or blog, I wouldn’t have met so many lovely people or shared my journey.
|I chose to upload this picture with it because at
the time this photo was taking I was feeling really
unwell so as a classic POTS girl I had to keep my
legs up to make me feel better.
“But I think it all depends on the person” and “Trust your instincts” go together for me. I think I knew deep down some people in my life just didn’t get what I was going through and wouldn’t support me in the ways I needed – therefore I would be awake all hours of the night worrying. I think your gut feeling is a more powerful judge than we give it credit for… and we should listen to it more! I pushed on and fought through these feelings only to get hurt and let down. AND when I got let down I felt as if it was all my fault – because I wasn’t enough…. Looking back and seeing the way I talked to myself kind of breaks my heart.
So this leads to “it’s really up to you and what feels right” – you don’t have to share the intimate details of your life with everyone. You have a choice, so don’t feel pressured. I now share this early on because I want to get it out there – I want it off my chest. I want that initial anxiety gone. Because if they can’t handle it then they’re not worth it, so I’d prefer to know sooner rather than later.
But these are just my thoughts from my journey. I am in a better place now because I feel more confident with who I am – but I wasn’t always (and I still doubt all the time too). Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic below too!
Lots of love x