An image of a man and a woman having a tense conversation and looking at each other

Strained Relationships

It is very difficult when you’re going through a serious chronic illness or other life-or-death health issue and also struggle in a personal relationship. I have personally witnessed hundreds (the number is shocking) who have also ended up getting divorced or separated during their fight with hep C. I myself am one of those statistics.

My symptoms weren’t visible to others

I know for me personally, it was hard because I didn’t show the seriousness of my health on the outside. My then-husband had a very hard time understanding that I was indeed very sick. I am not one to sit around and feel sorry for myself and I tend to push through pain to be there for my family. But, when the time came (usually on weekends) I was literally bedridden because I forced myself to be at my kid’s school functions all week, ran my companies all week long, and maintained my household. By that time, I had nothing left to give anyone, I was in agony and really worn down and sick. 

For my then-husband, he struggled to see the pain. When it came to doing stuff around the house, going to a movie, or entertaining friends and family, he did not see that what I gave all week was my limit. That I prioritized, in my mind, the things that were important to me — my own family, my job, and household. I did not have an ounce to spare for anything extra. It sounds harsh, I know, but when I look back now, I probably did too much anyway.

Looking for empathy from loved ones

My relationship with him became strained and the anger, frustration, and lack of empathy were very bothersome to me. How could this man not see that I was pushing through exhaustion and not have my back when it came to extracurricular actives with friends and family. I pushed all week to be present at my companies and my kid’s functions, yet he could not be there for me and defend or stand up for me when I needed him most? We began fighting almost every day.

Let me just say this in defense of those fighting hep C right now, it is not that we do not want to have fun, but when you are in pain every minute of every day and your fatigue is beyond exhausting, you then are forced to choose what is most important and other things get put on hold.

Stress was impacting my health

It was during a liver appointment that I realized this relationship was truly one-sided and that this person did not have my best interest at heart. My doctor pulled me aside and said: “Kim, this relationship is not helping your situation with your health. The stress you are putting yourself through is damaging your liver beyond anything hep c could ever do.”  In other words, I was aiding the destruction of my liver. Instead of fighting against hep C, I was standing next to it adding fuel to the fire.

Not everyone has the same story but I can say many, many people have the same feelings of loneliness and isolation. We just want someone to go to bat for us during this fight. We are tired. We are pushed beyond our limits. And we just want someone to see and to feel what we are going through. It is sad, but during life’s most difficult battles we come to see relationships in a different light.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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