My ongoing journey with chronic illness has been particularly painful and difficult lately. It has become clear that I’m not able to work even a part time job at this point in time, I don’t not know when or if that will ever change, which is very upsetting. Besides short daily walks, I rarely make it out of the house, which is depressing and isolating.
I’m trying to find community and connection with others, but it’s difficult for me to speak authentically about how I’m feeling and the toll that illness is taking on my body, mind, and spirit, and I worry that my identity will be reduced to “the sick friend” in the eyes of others. I am learning that while I exceed at self-expression, actual emotional vulnerability is something I haven’t figured out how to bring into many of my friendships. I often feel a need to offer some hopeful resolution about what I’m going through because it’s painful for myself and others to admit that there isn’t one, and that what none of this make sense right now. The way other people’s faces fall when I tell them I’ve been in pain and exhausted for days on end, reflects back a small portion of my own disappointment and grief that is still overwhelming to face. However, my desire to protect other people from that grief is preventing me from being vulnerable in my relationships.
Sometimes, when I feel that words aren’t enough to express myself, or when I realize that I’m tempted to use words as a wall rather than a bridge, I find that communicating visually and creatively allows me to show rather than tell, leaving in all the uncertainties and things I haven’t defined yet.
So instead of muddling on and trying to make sense of the senselessness of this season, I’m taking a stab at showing you, without conclusions and resolutions, how September has felt.
September feels like uncertainty and immobility.
I don’t know where I’m going, or if I’m going anywhere.
I am not sure what is left of me when illness takes up so much of my life.
Sometimes I feel like I am disappearing.