Going Through Rough Relationships After Diagnosis
Last updated: February 2022
Many with hepatitis C experience rough relationships after diagnosis. For myself, I went through a horrible divorce that really left me feeling alone, afraid, unattractive, and frankly sick. (All while in the middle of fighting for my life.) It was not that I blame hep C for this relationship ending but it contributed greatly to the dismay.
I have never spoken of this aspect of my hep C because it was very personal and as an advocate, there were just somethings I refused to discuss. But, after getting back on my feet health-wise and gaining that courage and confidence back, I am now ready to open up and share.
The frustrations of living with an invisible disease
Hepatitis C is a silent disease. It wreaks havoc on your body, destroying everything in its path. Because it is on the inside, it is extremely difficult for those around us to fully understand what we are going through.
Myself, being a very stubborn person, I would push beyond exhaustion and then have no more to give my then-husband. In return, it was very hard on me that no compassion was given to me when I really was fighting a hard day. Stressing the point that I "looked fine". This vicious cycle went on and on. My growing frustration at the pure lack of empathy or willingness to learn about what I was struggling with was damaging to our marriage. As was the confusion on his end that I was still working, raising kids, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the household. How in his mind could I be that sick? I don’t blame either of us for this. I know what it is like having someone with hep C to care for. It is grueling, demanding, and frustrating at times (taking care of my mom in later stages).
Sharing my lessons learned
If I could offer any advice without giving martial counseling here, it would be that both partners try to be in the others shoes. Both sides have fear, uncertainty, stress, and emotions tied to you being diagnosed. So, to say this is only happening to yourself is wrong because this diagnosis affects every aspect of both your lives. If you are not getting the support from your spouse, reach out to a support group. Also, do not expect or put expectations on your partner to fully understand what is happening with your health. It is very complicated and hard for even ourselves to grasp the full impact this disease is doing to us.
No one wishes to be sick, as does no one wish to not be that understanding compassionate partner. Learn to communicate, seek help, seek support groups. My foundation has a support group for just caregivers. Because the emotional demand on caring for one with hep C is great, I felt the need to offer support and a place to vent with other caregivers. Why? Because sometimes learning about a condition comes better from someone in the same shoes who has already gone through it. Talking with another caregiver getting advice can help.
Finding support from the community
You too as a patient are NOT alone. There are people who understand and can offer support, guidance and, instruction. Seeking outside support will then allow you both to come together with a better understanding for one another.