What It Feels Like When No One Understands

Living with chronic illness is many things, but among the most painful, it is isolating. No one around me can truly understand what I am going through. It's not that I don't think they're trying to understand. It's that I know there's no way they can.

No one else feels what I feel. No one hears the cacophony of pain I am forced to listen to with no option of a pause button. No one sits in the fear of "what will happen next?" the same way I do with my body. No one experiences the panic and the sadness and the struggle like I do. No one else can, and I can't think of many things that feel more lonely than this.

It makes me angry when I can't seem to connect with the people who try so hard to empathize. I want to be able to say, "yes, thank you for understanding," and yet there is this critic inside my head that taunts, "they're just saying that; they'll never be able to." And I find myself withdrawing. I am isolated.

I have tried to make sense of this reality. I have tried to find the balance of sharing so people know, but giving grace for when they cannot. I have tried to be real. And yet there is no way out of this isolation, because no matter how raw and honest I try to be, no one can fully fit in that space with me.

I titled this "What it Feels like When No One Understands," and I am doing a poor job of living up to that title, because it is impossible to describe how it feels when no one can understand what you are going through.

I feel I have to be isolated, because otherwise I am too little and too much at the same time. If I let people in, I will disappoint. I will scare. I will worry. If I be myself, if I sit in the pain with people, if I am raw with them, then they will see, and they will not want to stay. And this reality is beyond terrifying.

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