I’ve been seeing a lot more of friends than usual this month, being the one that holds my birthday. It’s been great catching up with people and knowing that they care about me enough to make the effort. That means a lot to someone who isn’t always able to get out and attend their functions and celebrations. It means a lot that I have great friends who understand and will come and visit me even when I can’t reciprocate. I am grateful for each and every one of you! If I am being completely honest, I must also tell you that I am in some way envious of each and every one of you too. This has nothing to do with you, personally, it’s a side effect of three years of CRPS and I’m still learning to deal with it.
Envy… by Pensiero
I have noticed that after I spend time with absolutely anyone that my body becomes somewhat hyped up and my mind becomes frazzled, often leaving me a bit upset or frantic for a while. It’s not at all to do with the person I am spending time with, more to do with just being ‘switched on’ for communication. Communicating can be complicated when you suffer a chronic illness. It can be hard to take in conversation when you are in extremes of physical pain and also hard to express yourself. I’m often left wondering how much honesty is too much honesty? When someone asks how I’m doing, how much truth do they really want to deal with? And how much do I want to share? Nobody wants to be the sad sack that brings other people down.
The plain truth is that I am in pain each and every day, this is a pretty sad fact that I can’t escape, so I usually try to mention it as little as possible when socialising. I don’t want to talk about the things that bring me down when I’m trying to have a good time. The only problem is, having CRPS is my entire life. I don’t have much else to talk about. Occasionally I will let a comment out that leaves people in the room making awkward, pitying looks, when that’s not my intention at all, I’m simply stating an honest fact from the life that I live. It’s confronting to see people react to my life with such pity or to see them squirm with discomfort when my intention has been to make a joke. It’s confronting to realise that my life has become something to be pitied when I spend so much time trying to focus on reasons not to look at it that way. It’s a little bit like having the protective bubble of half truths that I wear as armour bursting around me. I’m not faulting my friends at all for their reactions, just trying to give insight into how socialising can feel from the perspective of a CRPS sufferer. I can’t operate in the world with people who don’t realise that I’m in pain, yet I struggle to handle being pitied…it’s a hard juxtaposition to live with.
I like to hear stories from the lives of others. I like to hear what my friends have been up to, what they’re planning and the futures they are building for themselves. Unfortunately, there is a double edge to the sword that I cannot seem to escape. An evil, green-eyed, edge. Part of me is jealous of each and every one of you who is able to choose directions, try new things, carry out plans and create the lives that make you happy. I want that ability back more than anything. I don’t mean to say I don’t like hearing about other people being happy, I most certainly do. I love when my friends are doing well, I celebrate their achievements, feel proud of them and I’m happy that they are happy. It turns out that human beings are capable of being happy for others and jealous of them at the same time. It’s no use trying to make the happy part override the jealous thoughts, they just appear, they are there and I have to deal with them.
I deal in the same way that I deal with all the things that bring me down, I try to focus on my own personal present, remember the small things I have achieved within my boundaries and remind myself of the physical and creative goals that I have set in order to be able to step up to higher goals. I try to give little credence to the thoughts that will bring me down. It can get frustrating constantly reminding oneself to be proud of getting the laundry on the line and not jealous of other people you’ve grown up with jetsetting around the world or beginning amazing careers. Life is not best lived through comparison, however it’s not best lived through denial or secrets either. I’m still figuring out how to walk the lines with balance. I’m writing with the hope that friends reading will understand that I love spending time with them, just that there is an undercurrent of crap that I go through and that if I seem a little disconnected or vague it’s most likely because part of my brain is draining energy trying to resolve these parallel states of being….happiness for others & envy.
This has been a weird post to write. It’s an awkward topic, jealousy, we often don’t like to admit when we feel it but it’s pretty hard to go through life never admitting the undesirable stuff. I’m wondering if other sufferers can relate? How do you deal? I hope that no one interprets this post to mean that I don’t want to be told good news, or any news! I’m looking forward to the next time a friend has something exciting to tell me and I shall continue focusing my energy on logically dealing with my negative emotions so that I can enjoy the positive ones.
Love From The Green Eyed Monster,