High Functioning, Chronically Ill

by , under personal

I live with Crohns. I am also ridiculously high functioning when sick – I always have been.

When I was first diagnosed with Crohns, it was because I had a really really low hemoglobin count that sent me to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Literally everyone was surprised that I was standing- yet, there I was, driving around town and taking my kids to school.

I spent a year with cramps and nausea – sitting in parking lots until it passed, because I had things to do and nobody else to have take care of it all.

The good part about being high-functioning is that things get done. The bad part? Literally everyone forgets how sick you are.

I’m not only high functioning with Crohns, but with my anxiety and depression. My brain makes lists of things that Have to Be Done, I Want to Get Done if I still have energy, and the Bonus Things to Do if I Still have energy.

So I go through my day, feeling the weight of everything with me, and people ask me “why are you sad?” “why are you in such a bad mood?” “why didn’t you do XYZ?” (when all I had energy for was getting to IJK) – and I almost always want to break down and cry, because… they forgot.

Somehow they forgot that I’m still sick, that my Crohns isn’t in remission. All because I’m good at sucking it up and doing what needs to be done.

Odds are, if I’m bitchy? I’m having a bad anxiety day. I’m in pain from Crohns or my bad back. Or, I’m just tired of repeating myself. If I didn’t get something done, it just wasn’t at the top of today’s priority list (or my brain was so fuzzy from anxiety it just slipped my mind).

But none of it goes away. It’s all still there.

  • Bridgette Ramirez

    I have high functioning anxiety and the same thing happens to me! I get so tired of explaining myself to my parents, as sympathetic as they try to be. Our pastor talks a lot about his anxiety so that helps take the burden off of me. Still, it sucks to feel alone like that when people forget what you’re going through.

  • Eli

    … and then if you do take a break. If you do stop. If you do need time for yourself … then you’re lazy or you’re not “sucking it up enough” and whatever … its like its impossible to win with people. I especially love people who say “well I have (insert some random problem completely unrelated to yours) and I feel bad too but I still get x, y, z done” or “why don’t you see a doctor” or whatever the f they say that’s just useless and never helpful. I’m sorry you have to keep repeating yourself ……. its ridiculous how people are. From me and everyone else who has to constantly do the same thing … I hear ya.