Saturday, December 3, 2011


I did not expect my horrible experiences with doctors to make me leery of people in general, but they did. Even though I long to make friends, I find myself asking new people exclusively about themselves; I realize I don't trust them with much knowledge about myself. Or maybe it's that I don't trust them with medical knowledge about myself? But then again, nowadays how much can I say about myself without alluding to something medical in nature?

"I'm not working, I'm disabled." (Just uttering this phrase is enough to make 80% of people uncomfortable)

"I'm a poet." (When I say this, people look at me like I say I build sand castles for a living.)

"Well, I wanted to be a professor but..." (Mentioning frustrated hopes and dreams to people I just met?.

So I'm stuck between desperately wanting to meet people, and desperately not wanting to talk to them. I feel like there are two of me sometimes: the 27-year-old me who is healthy and hale and can set and accomplish any goal, and the realtime 31-year-old me who sometimes goes up the the stairs on all fours and carries a plastic bag in case she needs to puke while driving. I can't seem to figure out that one of these people no longer exists. The former me is my favorite, so capable, so self-possessed, so ambitious, so bright. She has a masters in poetry and she would like to teach. Younger children, not necessarily college students. Her work is pretty good, you should read it! Very much about womanhood and identity and sense of place....

And then there' Shy of people and looking lost, sick constantly, bouncing from doctor to doctor, trying to find one familiar with her not-so-rare rare disorder. Overwhelmingly most of my energy this past two years has gone towards getting a diagnosis and getting treated. And that's right, that's where it should have gone.

So why am I so sure a new group of people would reject someone like me?


Ashley Ashbee said...

Hi Yvette,

I wonder ... Maybe it's not that you aren't keen to make friends and bring up your health issues, but that it's simply too uncomfortable?

As I'm sure you've experienced, a lot of baggage comes with disclosing illness, saying you don't feel well: "What if people don't believe me?" I read here that you deal with the stigmas of invisible illness.

And of course there is also baggage if people DO believe you: some people will think you're delicate and treat you so; you may not want people to worry; you don't want to miss out on opportunities. And of course, if you're like me, it's very difficult to admit suffering and to witness sympathy for yourself.

I definitely sense that you do need to talk to about your illness and the stuff that comes with it. (I also read about your unhelpful experiences with insensitive doctors or those who just don't care or help. I've been there!) Please feel free to email me if you need to talk. I'm here!


PS Thanks for ANOTHER great comment on my blog!

Yvette said...

Hey Ashley,

To be sure, it IS uncomfortable. It's the proverbial elephant in the living room whenever I talk to anyone new.

I'm still feeling all this stuff out because I do need to talk to people and I feel a strong urge to socially reconnect.(When I put on concealer in the morning, I ask myself "Who am I doing this for? My gastroenterologist?)

I have so many reasons for people to treat me differently, I can't bear another one. Yet after two years, I'm no healthier, simply better equipped to deal with my disability, so really I don't have a choice.

It's get out there and talk or go to the pound and get eight more cats and settle in.

I will probably take you up on that e-mail offer.