Sometimes, more often than I’d like, I struggle to find the joy in things. It’s not something I can put down to my illness entirely, as it’s been there for as long as I can remember. It’s not a massively negative issue, and am I'm not a massively negative person, it’s just a feeling of general ‘malaise’ I've always felt since I was young.
I suppose, much like my strange bowels, I've always known something was slightly off, but it’s never been an ‘issue’ I've felt the need to act on. If you can even grant it a title as important as an ‘issue’. It’s just been a mild feeling of being emotionally stunted I suppose. Or maybe it’s just disdain overtaking any potential joy. I'm not sure.
Don’t get me wrong; I'm emotional, I cry at the drop of a hat. I mean I can really go for it when it comes to the old salty eyes.
One of my friends/family is upset? SOB-FEST 2015.
Romantic films where they lose the love of their lives? HERE I GO AGAIN WITH MY TEARS.
Adverts about homeless kittens? MY EYES FEEL LIKE THE GRAND CANYON WITH THE WATER REMOVED.
So you get my point. I don’t have any problem showing my emotion – when it’s negative. But I find it hard to get ‘excited’. I feel it, but I don’t feel it. I don’t know if this is making any sense, but you've read this far you might as well keep plodding on with me.
I think understanding the significance of these lacking feelings came to the fore after my diagnosis. The more I learnt about my disease the more heart-breaking and hopeless it all felt. Of course that’s not how I feel now; I’ve gained so much more in terms of love and understanding from people around me than my illness could ever hope to take away. I don’t feel hopeless; I feel hopeful (most of the time). I try to at least. I think that’s half the battle. Faking it till I feel it. I don’t have to do that in all areas of life of course, nudge nudge! wink wink! [Dad, if you’re reading I mean I don’t fake the joy of hand-holding of course].
When you have a chronic illness however it can be difficult to find the joy regardless of whether or not you are a Grade A weirdo like me. I've been wondering why this is; it’s not just the day to day with the disease. The difficulties we face physically and mentally. The endless symptoms, and pain. I think it’s also those fellow patients and/or hypochondriacs around us who are more negative than they are positive. If these people were a pie chart they would be 10% delicious filling and 90% burnt pastry because you left the pie in the oven too long again I told you to put it on at 180 but you knew best didn't you?
It’s obviously wholly understandable when talking on social media, or amongst real non-Catfish people in real-life, that you’ll describe your condition in a less than joyous light. It’s natural to talk about a negative part of your life in a negative way, but I would just ask you to consider how much of your pie is burnt? (I’m continuing the pie chart analogy take your mind out of the gutter).
Negativity towards your illness is a part of life, but be careful of your audience when audibly bashing certain aspects of it. Doctors, treatments, medications and symptoms may all be complete alien to new patients. Don’t tell them how horrific your experience is when they are already terrified to their very colon. Don’t tell them you had a horrifying experience with (insert relevant medication here) when they are just about to take the plunge with it. Don’t try to outdo one another with competitive suffering. It’s honestly such school-yard behaviour it’s embarrassing. Bear in mind when your bad experience is at the forefront of your mind not to pummel theirs into insignificance and terror with it.
It’s already scary enough coming to terms with not getting physically ‘better’; don’t make getting emotionally better, worse.
And always put your pie in at 180.