“I push people away when really all I want if for someone to hug me and tell me it’s going to be okay.”
My biggest supporter, kindest teenager asked me many times: “I hate myself, I push everyone away because of chronic pain. Did you do the same thing? How many friends did you lose because of chronic pain when you were my age?” I answered her with a response she was not expecting: “Not enough.”
I am sure she was baffled by my response or not because she is wise beyond her years, either way I my answer was true. Chronic pain began to get worse for me during my later years of high school and into my first few years of college. I was juggling school, college, “young adult” issues and spent the majority of this time searching for a cure or relief to chronic pain. Living hell. However, I still wanted to keep my friends and be with everyone when they were out having fun. I wanted to “fit in” as most teenagers do. People with chronic pain, especially in their teen years do not want people to know that they have an invisible illness because they do not want to appear “crazy.” This is a very hard time in a person’s life. They are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. They expected by the majority of society to decide weeks after getting their drivers license and before they are even allowed to vote to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. They are encouraged to find a major such as Business or Education and bam their choice for a career has been weeks after having to ask their parents if they are allowed to go out on a school night. Talk about a difficult time in life for a person. You throw an invisible illness: chronic pain into the mix and this is going to be a huge mess. Read my past posts, my life was turned upside down as I started college, juggled classes, and went to various doctors and surgeons weekly. I pushed friends away in the sense that I felt guilty for my invisible illness and chronic pain especially during these years was so awful that I was not the true Jessica. I was miserable, in pain, and angry. I had a hard time typing out an essay because all I could think about was the pain I felt and the fear of the next doctor appointment. My life was spiraling out of control and the only way I was able to keep “friends” was to go out drinking with them because that, at the time was the only thing that would numb my physical pain and allowed me to believe people thought I was “normal.”
I wasted so much needed energy and peace worrying about what people thought of me and pretending to be “just like everyone” that my pain and depression only increased. I pushed many people away by isolating myself, acting mean because I hated my illness and took it out on people, and because I believed that I would only hurt others if they knew what was really going on with me. If I could go back in time, I would change so much. One of those things being my worry and anxiety over what other’s thought of me. So when I say: not enough, I am not saying that in a spiteful way. My two closest friends from pre brain surgery to now: twenty years are still my closest friends because that’s how life unfolds. Stop worrying what other people think or what they need or what to tell them. Until you start focusing on your health, your well being, your happiness; you will not be able to be the friend, person you want to be. Focus on yourself and I promise the rest will follow.