I will warn you up front that this is not going to be one of my more lighthearted posts. I try as best as I can to stay upbeat about Gastroparesis and all of the curveballs in life that it throws you. However, sometimes it is hard to move past the hurt. In fact, it is beyond hard to move past the hurt of people that stems from finding out people’s true colors.
I have been extremely fortunate to be having success with my new plan to take on Gastroparesis. My new eating plan (gluten-free, refined sugar-free, & caffeine-free), acupuncture, supplements, etc have given me a tremendous amount of relief. I have been able to exercise again and have also switched to a job that saves me upwards of 10 hours in my car per week in addition to being much less stressful. (Driving & heat are the two things that can still tank me faster than anything!) Having all of this success in kicking Gastroparesis’s butt should have me in a happy place. For the most part it does.
However, the one piece of Gastroparesis that I am still having an extremely hard time coping with is the hurt that comes to my heart. The hurt that comes from being stabbed in the heart (and sometimes the back) by people that you thought cared about you. The hurt that comes from people abandoning you when you become sick. The hurt that comes from people not understanding how sick you are because you’ve become so good at hiding it. The hurt that comes from them bad mouthing you to other people in your friend network. The hurt that comes from losing those additional “friends” because you don’t have the energy to fight the bad mouthing. The hurt from realizing that apparently none of them were your friends to begin with. This is what I am dealing with today.
Today I am dealing with staring into the face of a splintered friend network all due to someone who can’t come to grips with how sick I actually am. All due to someone who feels the need to be the loudest voice in the room. All due to someone who apparently never had to struggle or never gotten his/her way. It is excruciatingly painful to know that you have lost “friends” all because someone doesn’t understand, doesn’t take the time to understand, and feels the need to tell people how “selfish” you are.
I didn’t realize that grasping at straws to survive, try to have some semblance of normalcy, and to try to be able to hold down a job to keep insurance to pay your medical bills was being selfish. If someone had cancer, do you think that they would be cut some slack? Not so for those of us with Gastroparesis. No slack is cut for us because people don’t understand what we go through. They can’t fathom a life without the ability to eat so they like to pretend that it doesn’t exist. They like to pretend that you can continue on with the same plans in life. They like to act as though everything must not be that bad because “you don’t look sick”.
It still stings and baffles my mind at how hurtful some people can be. You wouldn’t treat someone with cancer like this. You wouldn’t treat someone waiting for a transplant like this. You wouldn’t treat an amputee like this. Just because we “don’t look sick” doesn’t mean that we aren’t sick. In fact, I had no idea how sick I really was for almost 2 years until just recently. I’m staring to come out of the Gastroparesis pit and am absolutely baffled by how I still functioned. Looking back, I should have done a spell in the hospital but was able to keep going and keep trying to hold everything together. Mainly due to this being what all GPers have a tendency to do. We fight to live, so excuse us if we don’t have time to fight with you over things that have now become petty to us.
Fighting for the ability to eat makes fighting over anything else trivial, so excuse us while we don’t waste the precious bit of energy that we have fighting with you. If that means losing you, then you were never a friend to begin with! Just stop acting like you have been so horribly wronged. Once you have lived a week dealing with this horrific condition, then you have earned the right to judge and bad mouth!
Needless to say, I have a looooong way to go in working through letting go of this issue with several people.