I never used to really think of myself as an angry person. Frankly, I didn’t have a lot to be angry about. And I didn’t have many people to be angry with. But the past two years have been hard ones and I really needed support from some people in my life that just didn’t come through.
This is incredibly normal for anyone with a chronic illness or even just a major life-change in their twenties. Everyone around you is discovering who they are and what’s important to them and frankly, sometimes you just don’t make that list.
And with time and repetition that hurt you feel turns into real bitterness. And in time that turns into slow, but gradual anger.
Anger is always a secondary emotion. I think the people who were seeing me from day to day knew I wasn’t coping too well. I think the first thing to go was pain tolerance. Having so much unresolved joint and bone pain for so long with no resolution made me lose my god damn mind whenever I stubbed my foot on a coffee table. Even getting my port accessed each week had started putting me on edge.
When things first started hitting me hard—I reached out to a friend who I was surprised hadn’t been there for me when I’d just spent weeks in the hospital getting surgeries. When I asked her why she didn’t visit or hadn’t texted to check on me she just kind of shrugged and was like…she had other things to do…and then she changed the subject back to herself.
It was a hurtful response. And I stewed about it for weeks. The whole encounter had really added to this restless, hopeless feeling. Like what point was there in reaching out to the friends I had if they were only going to reject me? I didn’t want to hear that. I didn’t really want to “test” the strength of my friendships—because I wasn’t in a place to start ending them.
I told myself that everybody had their own situations. Whose to say theirs weren’t important enough to ignore mine? Maybe shit was getting real on their end too. Maybe they didn’t want to talk about it. Maybe they didn’t want to talk about it with someone they knew was having their own problems.
I took my anger and frustration and tried to channel it into work and projects that I now had these long, restless nights to work on. At first this was a really good outlet for me. But over time it was clear that it wasn’t making me less agitated. It was just making me busier and less cognizant of just how agitated I really was.
When my website froze up for the third time, completely locking me out of my backend, my drafted work, and my general venting tool, I found myself rage-dialing tech-support for my hosting company.
And girl, I just went ballistic.
I know we’ve all had it out with the Comcast team, but this was some exorcism kind of shit. I detonated. Sure, I was screaming your usual “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH I PAY FOR THIS SHIT?” and your often-heard “IF YOU CAN SHUT IT DOWN, YOU CAN BRING IT BACK UP AGAIN!” and don’t forget the much loved, “NO, YOU TELL ME THE PASSWORD TO MY FTP!”
But did I stop there? No. It was like someone dropped a mentos into the soda of my heart. I continued in the spirit of sharing and generosity with why he had chosen the difficult field of tech support as a career when he was being so terribly unsupportive? And why, I implored, did a cyber-security team exist if it failed to exist after 7:30PM on a Tuesday night?
I don’t even know if I was speaking English or just chanting in Latin at the end there. I used pretty much every curse word I knew and I didn’t give the poor tech support guy a chance to even jump in with actual answers. I just screamed a few more times and then hung-up. (Because, let’s face it, I’m a results-oriented kind of woman.)
I realized I was doing this on speaker phone and while my husband wasn’t all-out gaping at me, he had stopped his own screaming to his team mates on DOTA.
For any of you who have husbands who play DOTA you would know that this is cause to check yourself.
Yeah, that night I decided it was time to start getting a grip.
I’ve always tried to be open on here about what’s really going on in my life. And what’s really going on is that after months of trying not to let the stress of this disease and all of the nine trillion ways it has body-slammed my entire life… it’s getting to me. And while I’ve had small bursts of relief in talking to my husband, my family, and some friends — I’m not coping great.
One of the hardest hitting things has been people in my life either doubting that I truly have this disease and believing that I am not trying hard enough to do things to make myself better.
There was definitely a time where I let these people creep into my heart, my confidence about how I was handling my medical care. In these moments I hated myself. I was so disappointed in my inability to just get better. I was letting their judgements seep in when I had literally tried everything in my power to physically fix symptoms that are not fixable by “willing” them to be better, by exercising, by changing my diet.
Like I said— a grip on my anger—I needed to get one.
For whatever internal chaos some people and this disease have brought to my life, I don’t deserve to constantly feel angry on top of the stress and anxiety that I already have.
So the first thing I’m doing (and I guess I have been doing) is erecting a complete and total blockade to the people in my life who have been unnecessary garbage people. The people who kick you when you’re down. I’m not talking about the friends who didn’t come to my bedside on my worst days. I’m talking about the people who were flat out cruel. Who saw me struggling and told me that I didn’t deserve to have children and that I am a pathetic and cowardly person for letting my disease get the best of me.
It has been a pleasure and an honor to (literally) delete you from my life.
I’m making some moves in my life to start coping with how everything has affected my sense of self-worth and confidence, my general happiness. I am embarking on this endeavor so that I do not lose my shit on Comcast when I go to reinstall at my new house next month.
But seriously, I am working on getting myself in a better place and on bringing back my hope. The day you start to feel hopeless—that really is the day to start giving yourself the help you deserve on an emotional level. It’s the wake up call to start removing the dead weight and to start surrounding yourself with people who are genuine and good.
I know this post wasn’t full of great advice and parts of it where unnerving to write about. But it’s generally the hardest posts to write that end up helping other patients the most.
I hope that if you’re reading this you’ll take a moment to check your stress levels too. And if you need help, you’ll be a little less ashamed to know that at some point or another—every body needs help.
It’s okay to not be okay.
It is not okay to make the IT guy regret his career choices.