Before and After

“Normal” people, that is, people without a chronic illness will find it incredibly difficult to even try to imagine what the life of a chronically ill person is like. What the limitations mean in practical terms. The “before the chronic illness began” and “after the illness” description of a person may be quite different.

These two posts by Toni Bernhard bring out this point in a humorous way, but they are not actually funny for the ill person, it is just the way life is now for them.

 A “Before” and “After” Snapshot of Chronic Pain and Illness
A Before and After Snapshot of Chronic Illness, Part 2
(Life “before” versus life “after” chronic pain and illness.)

I myself know that my old friends who knew me before I became so sick would not be able to understand me now.

A few of my personal before and after snapshots:

Before: I was considered a highly positive, enthusiastic and eternally optimistic person.

After: I am always tired and my optimism has somewhat run out. I do have the energy to be enthusiastic about anything except hitting the sack at night.
~ ~ ~ ~
Before: I was the best listener my friends had ever known. I was patient and never hesitated to go an extra mile to help someone. I was the go-to person for many people.

After: I am looking for a listener myself. I find it hard to help myself and be patient with myself. At times I feel, I really have so little left to give others. 
~ ~ ~ ~
Before: I was hardworking and was considered talented in my field. I loved my work and I had worked for decades to reach there. At a point in time I even worked 100 hours a week and my junior trainees struggled to keep up with my pace.

After: I do not have a job anymore, and my cognitive abilities have declined to a point where all the training and knowledge I acquired over the years have vaporized. I consider writing my work now, and I find it hard to put in more than 20 hours a week.
 ~ ~ ~ ~
Before: I loved cooking and inviting people over – cooking 12-16 elaborate Indian and European dishes was easy peasy. I was obsessed with cleaning and arranging things.

After: I dread inviting people. I dread cooking. I dread cleaning. I dread even taking a shower – because on shower day I have to cut down on other plans to allow for the “conservation of energy I have in a day” law.
~ ~ ~ ~
Before: I was a perfectionist at home and at work. I had a thing about punctuality.

After: I have achieved a zen like calmness about imperfections. I struggle to make it in time to appointments. 
~ ~ ~ ~

A chronic illness changes a person. The day to day challenges of a person with invisible disability is incomprehensible to people who have never been in such a situation or have never been the primary carer for such a person.

About Hypermobility Syndrome India/Viv

I an an Indian woman with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type (EDS-HT), also known as joint hypermobility syndrome. Although I have "suffered" from this disease all my life, I was diagnosed at 38 years, 2 years after my child was born. My work mainly involves being a mom to my beautiful and compassionate child. I also write and work from home in the field of science. I aim to raise awareness about EDS-HT, chronic pain, invisible illnesses, mental illnesses and invisible disabilities through my blogs. Viv (Latin root, meaning Life/ Alive) is my blogging pseudonym and alludes to my continued endeavor to rediscover my life and its meaning.
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