To my best friend, I am Milly. To everyone else I’m ‘the sick one’
I get sick of being sick. I get sick of being ‘the sick friend’, or ‘the sick family member’. To my best friend, I’m Milly. I’m her best friend who fights chronic illnesses and we are always there for each other. I’m hardly ever just a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a granddaughter or an auntie. I’m the sick one. The one that no one really wants to be around or actually wants to know how they are. I mean, why would they? I’m sick and that’s the story of my life. If they ask me how I am I have to lie and say “yeah I’m good thanks”. I’m not allowed to tell the truth because they don’t want to hear it.
No one wants to talk to me or see me anymore because of my illnesses. Everyone sits there talking about their lives, their boyfriends or girlfriends, their kids, their jobs or studies, their holidays, their nights out drinking and seeing friends and me? What do I have to talk about? A new illness that’s been added to the list, my pain getting worse, how I’ve struggled to get out of bed or leave the house recently, how my skin has flared with spots because my hormones are all over the place, or I have yet another hospital appointment or another surgery to add to the list.
Now if I’m with my friend we will sit there for hours chatting away about all sorts of things. Yes, we chat about how poorly we have both been feeling but we also can chat none stop about anything and everything having a proper giggle. But if I’m around family it’s a different story. They chat at me with all the fun things happening in their lives while I just sit there and smile and nod. Then I have the really uncomfortable part of saying about what new has been happening with me which let’s be honest is nothing.
I got into a stage of deep depression a few years ago, due to family problems I was having. Some nasty things had been said about me faking my illnesses, just being lazy and that I would be alone for the rest of my life and that no one would ever love me because I have nothing to give to a relationship. It really messed with my head and while I’m in a better place now I still have days when I struggle massively and I find it very very hard to be around some family members and go into panic attack mode.
One of the things I find really hard is the fact family want to all hang out with each other but I’m always excluded. Its “let’s go shopping”, “let’s go to lunch”, or “fancy coming around”. They all have things to talk about, things in common, but they don’t want to get to know me because I’m ‘just the sick one’. I have nothing but my illnesses to talk about. When I did my beauty course I was really hoping people would say to me “I’ll be a model for you”. No I didn’t hear that at all. I really struggled to find models with put more stress on me which I really didn’t need because I had started losing my vision and needed major eye surgery. I thought after I qualified, once I brought all my bits so I could do it from home they would help me out and have treatments so that I could share it on my page and get more practice. Again, that never happened. I had brought all this stuff for what felt like no reason. I find it hard watching them play happy families all the time. My illnesses make me feel so excluded and unloved. I never asked to be sick, it’s the life I was unfortunately given.
Sometimes I’ll cry at night when I’m in bed because it all just gets too much for me and I can’t cope with all my feeling. I can’t cope because I stay strong for too long because staying strong is my only option sometimes. All the memories come flooding back to me and my heart just breaks in two. I remember all the times I’ve been really sick in hospital and have not one text come through to my phone to ask me if I’m okay. I remember all the names I’ve been called by people who should never call you those names. I lie there and think how they are all happy in relationships and happy in life and how I’m single and how “no one will ever love me because I have illnesses so nothing to give to a relationship”. I lie there and think how different my life would be if I hadn’t got sick. Maybe I would have been a nurse by now, maybe I would have a great beauty business, or maybe I would have a family of my own to focus on. But I am sick so I will never know the answer to that.
I will always be that sick daughter, that sick sister, that sick niece, that sick cousin that sick granddaughter and that sick auntie but to my best friend I will always be Milly.