Loneliness can stem from rejection, from feeling isolated in our choices, our needs, and desires.
At some point during the surrealism that is getting an Interstitial Cystitis (IC) diagnosis I began to loathe small talk. “Hey how are you?” became an insult to me as I felt like nobody would receive my answer well. They’d expect a “Fine, thanks and you,” but I was so far from fine that “Fine” wouldn’t dare leave my lips. Lying is difficult and I’ve always struggled with holding myself back from pouring my heart out onto the lap of whoever was willing to listen.
I’d asked my boss at the time to stop questioning how I was since I was nowhere near fine and instead ask me what was up with current events as this was a conversation I could confidently be involved in. I might be falling apart personally but big matters of the world still deserved discussion. He never questioned my need to avoid that question or the lifestyle changes that were forced upon me, but many others did.
People will betray me, belittle me and turn their backs on me for not being their version of, “Fine thanks and you?” They have already.
About a year after my IC Diagnosis, I had a former friend actually tell me I needed a “food intervention.” She believed I was being too obsessed with food. My “friend” said she was going to host an intervention and gather all our mutual friends because everyone agreed with her. None of this specific cluster of people I knew once asked me why I was living the way I was. They never expressed interest in why I believed I needed to make these necessary changes for my own health and sanity.
I was doing what my doctors were telling me, avoiding certain IC triggers to avoid an unwelcome visit from Frank, my IC fire causing monster, and had received adequate food sensitivity tests to ensure I wasn’t reacting to things I was still eating. I food journal-ed to fill any gaps within my eating habits hoping to eradicate the cause of my IC or at least minimize the severity and impact of symptoms. I was and still am to some, obsessed with curing myself of the most painful experience I’ve had to date. Who wouldn’t be obsessed with wanting to feel better after spending countless days and months, quickly turning to years, feeling their worst?
Many of those I considered friends found my new lifestyle outrageous. Occasionally I still get questions drenched in implications like, “What happened to you?” Those willing to ask this question are unable to support me in my healing journey, they can never respond to the,"What do you mean?" response.
It began long before my IC journey too. People saw me trying to better my life. I was received with an inquisition. My junior year of college, after 7 years of part time classes I returned full time to complete my last courses in two years. I maintained a full time job and my social life plummeted. I had friends unwilling to accept homework or an early class as adequate reasoning for not going to concerts, bars, clubs or other social events. It’s not up to them how I spend my time. I no longer want to waste my life in meaningless ways. Especially when I’m already suffering physically due to the nature of IC and the Fire’s that Frank starts, ceaselessly raging.
Through these experiences I’ve learned that when you start to advocate for yourself and your needs, there will be people in your life willing and ready to treat your positive changes with negativity. I forgive them for not attempting to understand my circumstances and unknowing their line of questioning and acquisitions comes off as cruelty. Why would they be perturbed over my desires to be my best self? To seek healing and health?
I won’t let someone else dictate the type of life I lead. I want health. I will find healing. I cling to those willing to attempt to understand my experience and support me regardless of how obsessive I can get. I want to surround myself with those willing to understand me and my struggle. Those willing to love me through it. Those that have goals of being their best selves too. These friends exist.
If you’re suffering a change in life whether self chosen or forced on you, - and yes I said suffering a change. Change is uncomfortable enough without adversity of other people meddling - be prepared for your chance to receive negative reactions from those close to you. People may reject you for who you are becoming whether by choice or medical necessity. They won’t understand the change you’re going through. It’s okay. They’ll face their own difficulties in life, body and mind, eventually. You cannot worry about who will join you on your journey because regardless of the company, it’s your to be your own best friend, continuing this venture.
There will come a point in your life when you’ll have a friend, coworker, strangers, or loved one disagree with you or your life choices. In those instances, be your own advocate and stand by whatever decisions you make that you believe to be in the best interest of your body and health.
They will forget your needs.
They will forget your restrictions.
Don’t let yourself be a victim. Stand up for what you need.
You can’t help anyone else while you suffer your own misery. First fix yourself. Don’t let their rejection seep in and feed your guilt. It is absolutely okay to be ambitious and steadfast in your determination for change. No matter the cause of your glorious change, never be ashamed of bettering yourself.
Knowing who is worth your time is important. Don’t let yourself be the victim or people treat you as such, it feeds your worthlessness. The more someone feels sorry for your circumstance the more pity you receive from someone the easier it will be to let them go.
Those that care for you will make adjustments, ask how they can help and provide supportive ideas, eager listening ears and a gentle hug when you ask for one.
Let go of those who shame you. You’re worthy of the space you occupy. You deserve all the special love and attention you desire.
When they ask, “What happened to you?”
And they will.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m advocating for me. My needs. My health. My life.”
Anyone worthy of your time will respect that.
Also, don’t let you treat yourself in a way you’d never let anyone else. Don’t ever let anyone else treat you in a way you’d never treat another. Know your worth.
Before you feed the world, feed yourself.
Accept yourselves Apples,
"Sometimes it's about living your life like most people won't in the moment, so you can live the rest of your life like most people can't." - Unknown