Saturday, 25 October 2008

Illness Conversations

One of the comments left on yesterday’s post got me thinking about my attitude to ‘talking about illness’. Unlike some people who seem happy to chat away about every ailment they have (and even some they don’t have), I very rarely have a conversation about mine.

Yes, it gets mentioned at times because it HAS to get mentioned - I have to explain why I can’t do something or why I do have to do something, and sometimes people are curious and ask about it, but I rarely go in depth and very few people know the true scale of my health problems.

When I originally fell ill and spent several months in a special unit in Manchester, I became quite close to some of the other patients. We were all sharing more or less the same experience, some of us complete newbies to tackling the problems that would unavoidably become part of our lives, some with years of experience who could help and advise the rest of us. They were mostly good people and I enjoyed their company. However, apart from their names being on my Christmas card list, I haven’t kept up contact. Yes, there were promises of visits and the such, and at the time I meant it, but it didn’t happen.

It sounds mean I guess but the one and only reason I didn’t keep up contact with them is because of our shared problems. Yes, there would be a certain degree of support in having them as part of my life but I knew I just wouldn’t be able to handle the inevitable ’illness talk’. For me, it’s enough having to live with these things without having to talk about it too. It’s there, it’s not going away, and no amount of talking about it is going to change that.

I even got to know a lady who lives here in Crewe during my last stint in hospital. I really liked her and under other circumstances would have loved to have met up with her ‘on the outside’ but I didn’t ask her for her number and she didn’t ask for mine. Maybe she feels the same way.

There are already enough reminders of these things in my every day life as it is. The things I can no longer do, the things I have to do that I’d rather not, the pain, the knowledge that your life is in the hands of others… they’re enough without having to be reminded through conversation. I already do what I can to keep everything medical out of eyesight so as not to have it in my face the whole time so I’m sure I don’t need somebody rambling on about it whenever I meet them. And it’d happen, I’m certain of that.

Some would say I’m still in denial, that I should talk about it more and let it become a natural part of my life. Well if that’s they way they would deal with it then that’s great, just don’t expect me to be the same. I’m not in denial, I can assure you I KNOW exactly what’s happened to me, what the consequences are likely to be, and how it effects my daily life. I don’t need to talk about it to understand that. There are zillions of subjects that are far more interesting.

Since starting this blog I’ve been asked several times whether I could post more about what happened to me but I haven’t. I don’t want to. It doesn’t interest me. It gets mentioned when it needs to be, but that’s the extent of it.

Sharon J


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Our Home said...

Hiya Sharon, read your psot everyday and yesterdays made me smile as I have a friend in a similar situation to your self and she is very much how you seem ( I mean that in the nicest way) All I can say is be true to YOU nobody else - if you feel like rough dont waste your energy worrying about anybody else.

Best wishes and hugs Babs xxx

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-As its your blog, you get to decide what you want to say or not say-you don't need to justify yourself to other people and if they feel they need an explanation of anything, thats their problem, not yours! Hope you're enjoying your Saturday my dear!

Anonymous said...

All you can ever do in life is be true to who you are! This is a shining example of that!

laura said...

I understand exactly where you're coming from Sharon and I'd much rather you posted about stew and dumplings anyway!! ;)

Anonymous said...

I meant that as in who you are is not defined by your illness, so you only need post about things that you feel/want.

Just thought I'd clarify :)

Jade of the Jungle said...

Everyone deals with things differently - for people to suggest that you're in denial clearly shows a lack of understanding of that. Life has thrown me a curveball in the past year which I still find difficult to talk about in specifics, but that's how I deal with it. It doesn't mean I don't acknowledge that it happened!

You blog about precisely what you want to blog about, Sharon :)

J x

Fernanda said...

I am in a similar situation, and like you I never talk about it. Never. Ever. I don't want this thing to take away anything else from me than it is absolutely neccesary. I do what I have to do. And when I am done I forget about it, until next time. I know that sometimes people are curious about it, but that is really not my problem. I guess I just do what works for me, and I don't think I should have to justify myself.

Sharon J said...

@ Our Home. Thanks for your comment. I'd probably get along fine with your friend :)

@ Sharon Rose. There are times when I do have to justify myself in the 'real world' (like when I have to change plans at the last minutes, for example) but here on the blog I don't see why I should have to, apart from the occasional explanation of why I do or don't do things so that people aren't left wondering what the heck I'm rattling on about. I did enjoy my Saturday :)

@ Frugal Trenches. I try do be true to myself but I guess we all slide out a bit now and then. I don't want to change who I am though - in most respects, I quite like me :)

@ Laura. I'd much rather be talking about stew & dumplings too!

@ Jade. You clearly understand where I'm coming from :)

@ Fernanda. Welcome to my blog, and thanks a lot for your comment. I wouldn't say I NEVER talk about, but it certainly isn't my favoured topic of conversation. It comes up now and then but that's it. I think it shows a very blinkered view when others expect us to react in the same way that they would.

Sue said...

Hi Sharon,

I've been out of the loop for yonks, but reading your Blog posts, I realise how much I've been missinng!

I totally empathise with you. I've recently become more confident about not talking about my illness. Sometimes I still feel the need to justify to 'new' people why I can't do 'normal' things very easily, but I'm trying not to worry about what other people think - why is it sooo hard?

You're right, there are enough reminders to contend with, and it's much nicer to be able to focus on other more interesting things.

Now I've 'found' you again I'm going to endeavour to visit often. If I don't leave a comment, rest assured that I'll be lurking somewhere :-) (that's something else I've given myself permission to do).

Fantastic posts. Thanks for everything you share.

Sue xx

Sharon J said...

Hi Sue. I don't think it's necessarily wrong to justify things with regards to 'new' people - it's rather like explaining why you can't make lunch if you work, or an impromptu weekend away because you have kids etc - it's polite to give a reason. It's the constant justifications that I feel aren't necessary and above all, the endless conversations between two people sharing notes on their condition. Just like I wouldn't want to talk about work the whole time, I don't want to talk about my health, either.

Nice to know you're out there lurking in the wings :)