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Chronic illness make you feel like a square peg that doesn’t fit?

Posted Dec 11 2008 9:17pm

Does chronic illness leave you feeling like a square peg in a round hole? Funny thing.  Regardless of what causes it, feeling different just doesn’t feel good.

Last week, my husband, Jake, and I saw a terrific musical, In the Heights, with our daughters. Small wonder it’s a Tony Award winner — the music and dancing were outstanding.  The story resonated with each of us and in different ways.

I related to the lead character - a young, first generation Hispanic woman. When she left her NYC neighborhood (the Heights) for Stanford University, she found that her life experience had made her a different person from those around her.  She was devastated feeling so alone– until she found a way to move beyond this.

In my late 20’s, I became an “outsider” when I became seriously ill with multiple sclerosis. My days revolved around issues that consumed my grandmother  — not a newly married young woman. Bad sleep, incontinence, pain, fatigue, doctor’s appointments and tests.  And worst of all, what I couldn’t do!

In my 30’s, other couples had babies without thinking about it while we planned our every move. In my 40’s, friends chattered about balancing work and family while I struggled to get through the day.  My career? Like a car whose battery would start, stutter, stall and magically start again — only to die the next mile.

Do you know what I mean? Can you relate?

I speak with clients and others living with chronic illness who describe feeling isolated because of what they can’t do. They struggle not to withdraw because of it. They’re determined to keep working — or get back to work.  They believe it helps them feel normal in an abnormal body. But they get stuck worrying and wondering. Worst of all, no one around them gets it!

Is this your experience?


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