How To Love a Woman With Chronic Illness

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LOVE is your husband working at your make-up table in the master bedroom, instead of at a much larger desk in the den, because he wants you to have as much access to natural daylight as possible. To get whatever glimpses of the sun’s rays you can when you’re feeling the gloomy effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder/Bipolar Depression.

LOVE is your husband not even moving your boxes of jewelry and other scattered paraphernalia around on that tiny desk, because it would disrupt your stuff, and he’s considerate like that. Instead, he simply works around it and gamely folds his body into a feminine-looking chair. Just like he works around your fibromyalgia, anxiety attacks, PMDD, up-and-down moods, and your constant requests to hear that everything will eventually be okay in the end.

LOVE is your husband always loading and unloading the dishwasher, making most meals and taking on the majority of parenting when you’re having pain-filled days or feeling extra low due to your bipolar 2 disorder. Chronic illness doesn’t equate to easy times or interludes in any marriage, but despite both of your bone-deep frustration with your sometimes-sucky situation, you always make up and just get on with it.

LOVE is thirty loads of laundry, an unmade bed, and lost heads. It often involves raised voices, defeated tears and slammed doors. But it is also cuddling after your kid finally goes to bed, just resting your head on your husband’s shoulder, feeling his heart beat out a steady rhythm, and letting your worries float away into the ether.

LOVE is your partner in life listening to your catastrophic thoughts and bringing you back down to earth, coming up with reasonable-sounding plans and not minding when you feel like sleeping with the stuffed animal you had since you were two, just for some extra comfort.

LOVE is mysterious pelvic pain after surgery, driving to endless doctor’s appointments and prescription pick-ups. It’s dealing daily with your wife’s concurrent health afflictions. Often it feels more one-sided. It can be heavy and imbalanced at times, and one partner may wilt under the weight of so much caring and responsibility. It is a lot to constantly carry around your wife’s chronic illnesses – physical or mental – and nobody is a saint with endless patience and goodwill. But your husband comes close.

LOVE is couple’s therapy and talking it out and making the first move to speak about uncomfortable, awkward things you’d rather bury under the dirty carpet. It’s owning your vibes and your words, and all the things you say with your looks and sighs and silence.

LOVE is being the bigger person in your marriage, being the first person to reach out, trudging down the stairs late at night to hash it out, so you both won’t go to bed mad, full of resentment and hurt in your hearts.

LOVE is appreciating when you have the best damn husband in the whole wide world, and wanting to be a better wife, just to reach his level of goodness, even if he’s nowhere near perfect and only human, just like you, with flaws and weaknesses and maddening habits like leaving crumbs all over the counter.

LOVE is looking past those crumbs on the counter. The hairs in the sink. The compost and recycling boxes still at the end of the driveway after two days. It’s pushing all that pointless shit to one side and saying THANK GOD for this Mediterranean dish who walked into your life in 2008, pursued you with a stubbornness you still treasure to this day, and has STAYED with you and supported you in this weird and unwanted world of chronic illness.

Every time you see a freshly made hot water bottle or an uplifting post-it  note stuck on your computer, it is then that you realize that you have, in fact, been infinitely blessed.

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If you would like to hear more about my story and take on living life with Chronic Illness please check out my blog Tara Mandarano .If you enjoy it please subscribe and share. – much love to you all ?


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