You tell them you’re tired, and they say, “Me, too.” You want to throttle them. They have no idea.
You say that your muscles ache, and ask if they would mind if you left the dishes for another night. They tell you to take an ibuprofen, because God forbid, if you leave the dishes, a cockroach might lick the plates clean.
You tell them you’re forgetful, but they still furrow their brows when you can’t remember their best friend’s dog’s name. You assure them that you want to come to their party, but they get annoyed anyway when you tell them that you’re too exhausted to attend.
You explain to them that because of Lyme disease, you tend to drop things, bump into walls and spill beverages onto the carpet, but they still chastise you for your clumsiness.
You ask for help with purchasing groceries because your disability check doesn’t stretch far enough, and they turn a deaf ear to your needs.
Why can’t they hear us when we ache? When we explain to them what this business of Lyme disease is about? Couldn’t they try a little harder?
But they won’t. They cannot. They may want to, but they don’t live inside of your skin. They don’t feel your aching arse, they can’t hear the clamor of your broken heart. They don’t know that being able to eat, walk and breathe with ease are things they take for granted. They forget when you tell them that your symptoms cause you to behave in erratic ways.
And besides, they’re too wrapped up in their own problems to really be able to understand you.
Or maybe your pain hurts them too much and they have to turn a blind eye to your needs. Or maybe they try, but it’s just not good enough.
Guess what. When it comes to this illness, it will never be good enough. Cancer patients will always get more sympathy than you do, because they look and act much sicker, and my goodness, isn’t cancer scary? Never mind that borrelia eats up your insides. That it chews up your neurons and destroys your organs. They can’t see the damage and so as far as they’re concerned, you might as well be as healthy as a newborn baby.
Remember, you don’t understand them, either. Their problems may seem insignificant in comparison to yours but in their own minds, they may be suffering as much as you. Perhaps they haven’t had to grow the same tough skin that hardship has fashioned you with, and so cope just as poorly with their life’s issues. Their suffering is nonetheless real.
Or maybe they hurt more than you do over your illness. Believe it or not. Unlike you, they can’t do anything to alleviate your suffering, or if they can, they struggle to know what you need. Their feelings of helplessness may paralyze them. Not only that, but they have to cope with your Lyme rage and your forgetfulness and your moments of brain fog when you can’t seem to listen to a word they say. Even if they sympathize with you, they will nonetheless be frustrated at how your symptoms affect them. They are only human and they are unfamiliar with the mechanisms of this illness.
Take heart and enjoy them for what they can offer you. For the times when they do have ears to hear, and a heart to receive you when you cry out for help. Be thankful for the little ways in which they attempt to understand you. For the free dinner, the shoulder, the sympathetic eyes when you speak of your loneliness. Be at peace, knowing that they too, are like chewed-on chocolate rabbits, lacking in parts but doing their best to hear you, even though their ears may be broken.