DID: Chronic Illness and Envy

A few days ago I told my partner I envy people who can live their lives without DID.

He asked how envy made my life better, and I said, ‘It doesn’t. That’s the point.”

No one wants to admit to feeling envy, yet learning to manage envy is crucial to successfully managing a chronic illness.

These days I struggle with an old demon: raised in a culture of disdain for intelligence, intelligent little boys were beaten for ‘showing off’.

The beatings were especially brutal when they came from my Mother.

I’ve spent most of my life avoiding attention and playing second fiddle.

I’m not afraid of succeeding, I’m afraid to be seen succeeding.

I’m most vulnerable to feelings of envy when I’m struggling.

Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.  Susan Sontag  1978

I’ve always had Dissociative Identity Disorder but I have not always been sick with it.

Prior to my diagnosis in 2009, I had a career, interesting friends, and an active life

One day I woke up and I was permanently too sick to go to work.

I told myself I hated the job, I told myself I’d find another job, I told myself I’d eventually get better, I told myself I brought it on myself, I did not have DID, I was burnt out and needed a rest.

Ten years later, it’s obvious that I’m not going to get well enough to work and I’m getting old, as in elderly.

The difference between fifty-seven and sixty-seven is like the difference between five and fifteen in reverse.

Whose body is this? Whose aches are these?

The problem is acceptance; I know I’m ill and getting old, but I still live in emotional denial.

I still expect myself to be healthy.

Knowing is not accepting and this is at the core of my envy and sense of frustration.

Accepting Envy

Envy is about someone getting ahead of you, someone doing better, someone possessing qualities that you wish you had. You think you are losing the race. You are falling behind. And you are feeling sad, angry, resentful, anxious and you just can’t accept it.  Psychology Today

It’s easier to be angry, or sad, to smother envy with somatic symptoms or to project it onto others.

We don’t want to admit to envy. We see it as a petty, selfish, sour-grapes emotion. So we hide it, we harbor it; we disguise it with claims of unfairness or with character assassination. And we may avoid the people about whom we feel envious. You might think, “I don’t want to be around him because it reminds me that they are doing better than I am doing.” Psychology Today

Finally, who wants to admit to wishing ill on the healthy?

Defusing envy is not as simple as not feeling it

Not letting yourself feel or validate envy makes it more toxic; repressed emotions express themselves in passive aggressive ways such as criticizing others, hostile and cynical comments, shaming and chronically feeling unappreciated.

The first step in defusing envy is acknowledging that it really does suck to be sick: life is already hard, and on top of it, you have a painful illness that saps your strength.

It really does suck to have an illness that interferes with your talents and goals.

The illness ends when you die; it’s a fact you have to accept.

In 2009, I could write a six-hour training presentation in less than a week while working full time.

That’s gone.

In 2009, I could walk for miles without panic attacks.

That’s gone.

In 2009, I thought I would be the clinical director of the agency I worked for by 2019.

That’s gone.

In 2009, I was still a young man.

Today I am old.

Acceptance is a daily practice.

Just for today, I can accept my life as it is, and I will let myself feel joy when others succeed.

Just for today, I can focus on my talents and take pleasure in my substantial accomplishments.

Just for today, I can forgive myself for being human and respect myself for having the courage to discuss my envy.

When are you most vulnerable to envy and how do you cope with it?

Rob Goldstein 2019

 

#Bookreview – Brother Love by Teagan Geneviene

Robbie Cheadle reviews Brother Love by Teagan Geneviene

Robbie's inspiration

Book reviews

What Amazon says

“Brother Love – a Crossroad” is a mysterious “Twilight Zone-ish” short novella. It was inspired by the combination of Neil Diamond’s song and the blues legends of Robert Johnson and the Devil at the Crossroads. As in the real world, things in this tale are not what they seem. The setting is rural Mississippi in the 1950s. A group of outcasts are in a small southern town. They don’t realize they are looking for something. Will they find it?

My review

I am a big fan of Teagan Geneviene’s books as I find her stories to be highly entertaining and imaginative and, despite containing elements of the mystical and supernatural, to be believable and seem quite possible. I also find the author’s characters to be interesting and colourful and I enjoy the way she uses their actions, emotions and dialogues to weave her stories in a natural…

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#Poetry: Gestures

Crazy Mothers, crazy fathers, everyone saving each other,
hysterical calls to cousins who call uncles who call brothers;
from San Francisco to Michigan, everyone knows you’re not
doing well.

I don’t know what Michigan looks like.

I imagine a perfect square.

There are thousands of squares in Michigan called
lawns.

There is a lake: its waters flow from corner to corner.

(c) Rob Goldstein November 08, 1984 All Rights Reserved (Revised 08/26/2019)

To my friends in Michigan. I’ve have seen Michigan. It’s beautiful.

A visit to Dumfries Museum and a review of Secret Dumfries by Mary Smith

Check out Robbie’s review of Secret Dumfries by Mary Smith

Robbie's inspiration

I chose Scotland for our holiday destination this year with the proviso that we travel via York and visited the Bronte Museum, a placed I have longed to visit ever since I read about the tiny books produced by the Bronte siblings.

On Tuesday morning, after a brief visit to York and the Lake District, we drove to Dumfries in Scotland. Dumfries is a small town situated on the River Nith and is the place where famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns, lived for the last years of his life and died.

I was excited as we were meeting up with fellow blogger and author, Mary Smith, who had kindly offered to show us around her beautiful and historic town. Mary has written two non-fiction books about Dumfries and its history and a third is in the process of being finalised for publication. I bought and read a copy of Secret…

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