2 women have a conversation as one slowly disappears

People Will Get Tired Of You Being Sick

Last updated: May 2023

Living with a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis often means that you have to face some very hard truths. You might have to stop working. You have to go to the doctor more often. You may get sick more frequently. You might have to stop doing a lot of the things you enjoy.

There are a ton of situations that pop up that are difficult to deal with or even comprehend. One such hard truth that you typically don’t expect, but that raises its ugly head for many of us, is that people you know can get tired of you being sick.

Things are rosy at first

I’m sure it’s not the case with everyone, but I know when I was first diagnosed, I garnered a tremendous amount of sympathy and support. An absolutely massive outpouring of people expressed how awful they felt for me (not that I ever wanted that). People tend to be very understanding at first (or at least they try to be). They’ll call, text, email, or otherwise go out of their way to reach out and check up on you.

You end up getting SO many tilted heads with sad eyes asking “how are you feeling?” If your illness gets in the way or impacts them, they are sympathetic about it and brush it off and feel bad for even bothering you. Their expectations of you change, and they are filled with compassion.

Until they’re not

Again, this is absolutely not true of everyone, but my own experience has shown me that some people can only be compassionate for so long. One of the biggest misconceptions we face with MS is that people don’t understand the “chronic” part of our chronic illness. We aren’t going to get better, not really anyway; we may have some good moments, but nothing is ridding us of the disease or the damage it’s done.

They also have difficulty reconciling how we look with how we feel and what we are capable of. It feels like they start wondering “Why isn’t he better yet?”, or, “Is he not doing everything he can?”, or, “Why doesn’t he try harder?”

At least, that is the impression I’ve gotten at times.

We aren’t the only ones frustrated

When it feels like someone is fed up with my disease, I try not to get upset by it. I get it, it sucks, and it's frustrating. I hate having to cancel plans, too. I feel bad about not keeping in contact. I get bummed out when my body makes me unable to be there for people.

It’s upsetting when others get frustrated with us because of our illness. It feels like a slap in the face, and it’s utterly demoralizing. That said, I think the easy thing to do would be to chastise those that get tired of us being sick, but I can’t do that because I know exactly how they feel. What happened to me absolutely sucks and it’s not fair, but it’s important to remember that it sucks for my friends and family, too. It’s not fair to them either.

Dealing with the emotions

In many ways, I think we may be the ones with MS, but we aren’t the only ones living with the consequences of MS. The impacts of multiple sclerosis are felt far further than just the ones that have been diagnosed, and I think it’s important to remember that when others are frustrated with us.

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to share! As always, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

Devin

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