A Letter To My Loved Ones: "It’s Not You, It’s Me"
Dear family and friends,
I know it has been painful for you to watch my independence decrease since becoming chronically ill. Trust me; it has been no walk in the park for me either. While it has taken time to accept that I need assistance more often than I ever expected, I truly appreciate everything you do. I am often overwhelmed by your generosity and kindness. Without you, the number of times I left the house would greatly decrease. With no one to push my wheelchair, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the time I spend at Disneyland. Your assistance is what makes simple tasks such as going grocery shopping less exhausting. When you help me with household chores I am able to use my energy to do more with you and others.
While I enjoy your company and the laughs that accompany them, there are times when I want to do something by myself. Running an errand alone is how I test my limits and/or remind myself of why I need someone with me most of the time. I know you worry that I am pushing too hard, but I also do that at home or when I am out with you. I also acknowledge your fear that my pain will increase to a level that will make it impossible for me to drive home. I have that same fear and promise that I wouldn’t be venturing out on my own if I didn’t feel fairly confident that I could return. At worst case, if I find myself unable to return home, I could always call you or someone else for assistance. It wouldn’t be the end of the world. I know that I will pay dearly for rolling around in my wheelchair without assistance, but sometimes the price of pain is worth being able to be in control of where I go even if just for one hour.
I need to do some things by myself
Solo outings help my sanity. When I spend long periods of being careful and taking precautions I begin to wonder if my condition really requires all the assistance you give me. Solo outings either prove that I do need assistance or shed light on something that I could possibly do more often. If I don’t try I will always wonder if I could. Doing things by myself now and again, no matter how painful the outcome is, makes accepting the assistance I need easier. Remember, if I don’t invite you to tag along while I run out to grab takeout for dinner or to buy toilet paper, it’s not you, it’s me.
Have you ever applied for disability?