I have noticed that the more I am sick, the more I become invisible to those around me.  In particular, I seem to fade from view in the eyes of my family.

What does this mean? Am I just whinging again?


But, I think there is something deeper at play here. When a loved one is ill and ill a lot, everyone becomes fatigued.  It becomes difficult in the best of times to show loving kindness.  Maybe, it is just easier to let the sick person sort of fade into the woodwork and hope they won’t come out of their cocoon until they are ready to ‘act normal.’

Anyway, that is the sense I get at times.

My husband is a classic example of caregiver fatigue.  He is just worn out. He is tired from work and tired from life and he doesn’t have anything else to spare. I know he cares about me but I also know he doesn’t have the bandwidth to be actively involved with my health or issues.

I get that and I don’t want to be a burden.  So, I try to go away, lick my wounds and hope for the best.

If I need medical care, like the E fucking R, I go alone.  There is just no point in hashing out the expectations of a strained marriage in that situation.  It is much less stress on everyone if I am alone.

The flip side of all this is: 1. I get very lonely.  2. I feel like an alien in my own home.

I know there is plenty of flip side for my husband and my kids as well.  They have to deal with a mom  and wife that is unreliable and often incapacitated without notice.  I will be going along, trying to pull my weight  in the family, and then ‘BAM.’  The next thing I know, I am flat on my back.

These are just facts.

I just wish I knew how to stay visible.

I occurs to me that this invisibility is what must happen to elderly people.  All of a sudden, people look past you.  They ask questions a little too loud or over your head, just in case you are too out of it to understand.

They do this even though you are right there and inside you are screaming, “I AM RIGHT HERE; THE SAME AS ALWAYS.  PLEASE DON’T TREAT ME ANY DIFFERENTLY.”

It is an odd sensation.

The result is the armadillo effect.  The more often I seem to become invisible to my loved ones, the more often I find myself withdrawing from them.  It hurts less that way.

I curl into myself, like an armadillo does, when threatened. I become a little, armored ball that cannot see outside itself and is afraid to unroll, lest I be caught by my tail or expose my vulnerable belly.

Surely this is not a healthy way to live: And by healthy, I mean mentally.

Yet, I don’t really know what else to do.

I am reminded that armadillos are ugly, carry diseases and are dinosaurs.  That is not a very complimentary description of myself.

I guess until I learn a better way, I will just have to learn to love armadillos.

I hope my family can learn to love them too.