L has a chronic pain disorder amongst other illnesses.
I never in my darkest dreams imagined that someone could be in so much pain, in so many ways.
It’s mentally painful to watch someone you love struggle from the moment they wake up to the minute they manage to get to sleep.
L is wonderful in so many ways, her creativity blows me away. She is a talented artist, she has rescued and continues to adore reptiles.
We met in 2005, after I came to University here. I wanted some fish ornaments for my rapidly declining aquarium, and a friends sister worked where I could get them… It turned out to be L.
It makes me so angry at the universe that she struggles to even get out of bed, she takes more tablets than can fit in a tablet case.
Does it affect our relationship?
Of course it does. When you’re in the honey moon period, you never expect to become a carer, you don’t expect to have to arrange doctors and hospital appointments almost every week. But you also don’t expect to love that person in such a way that makes you feel it in your soul.
The one thing I wasn’t and will probably never be prepared for is the depression, it is soul destroying. To watch someone you love shrink like a dried chilli. To watch an illness suck such happiness out of everything she feels. To watch a dark cloud loom.
There are times when I’m frustrated, sad and just plain angry, but that doesn’t change how I feel about L as a person. There are times she makes me laugh until I cry, and I feel so much love my heart feels like it could burst.
L also has chronic insomnia, so when she does sleep it isn’t always at nighttime and we are like passing ships.
A partner with a chronic illness which is so debilitating can be so lonely, and exhausting. Being the strong one makes you feel like a ticking time bomb waiting for the universe just to bloody align so the washing is done, there’s milk in the fridge and you can lie on the sofa like cleopatra.
Maybe I should say I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I would. I would give anything to take her pain away. Anything.
If I could give 10 tips for dealing with a partner with any chronic illness they would be…
1. Always encourage them kindly, don’t nag or force.
2. Remember if they could do it, they would be doing it
3. Talk, be as open as possible
4. Online shopping is your friend
5. Don’t push yourself to your limits
6. A physical condition will have mental connotations. Encourage them to seek medical counselling or just talk to their gp.
7. Have fun. You’re still people, and still capable of having a good time.
8. Various medications have so many side effects, their mood might change, their tastes in food (L doesn’t like the taste of meat any more). Know what they are, and keep a list of medicines to hand incase of hospital appointments.
9. Try and make light of the situation, I used to joke that L could be a stand up comedian, now she jokes she would be the sitting down one, who would need an inhaler between jokes!
10. Look after yourself, self care is important, especially take vitamins to keep your immune system on the top of its game.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done.
Do you have any tips?
Love Sooz x