We Need to Stop Feeling Like a Nuisance

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by Jodi Enders |

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I believe it’s common for those with chronic illness to dwell on the fact that we can feel like a burden to others. Life with a disease, especially right after diagnosis, can make us susceptible to self-condemnation and feeling like a nuisance. Because we suddenly have more needs than we expected, we might think we’ve somehow done something wrong and we should feel ashamed.

We often might feel like an inconvenience or annoyance to loved ones and friends. I often unnecessarily dwell on the thought that I’ve made people feel stuck or obligated to take care of me. I worry that I sound like I’m asking for help from friends when I’m simply ranting about my sometimes unpredictable situation.

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Fears about myasthenia gravis flares, when symptoms are exacerbated, are stressful. But even worse than that is the immense stress I face when thinking about how much of a financial burden I am to my family. I attempt to give myself grace, but the grief I have from being financially dependent, which I didn’t expect to face in my mid-20s, gets to me at times, despite constant reminders that we shouldn’t compare people’s life timelines.

I also feel like I’m being annoying when I remind loved ones of the safety precautions I must follow. This can prevent me from standing up for myself when I need to.

I’ll fret about putting pressure on people I make plans with, which I don’t believe is an unreasonable emotion to have. This pressure comes from the mistaken notion that it’s their responsibility to ensure I don’t get sick while being with them. Going out with others and putting ourselves in situations of increased risk is our decision, and only we are to blame if we become ill because of it.

Explaining all of this to friends and family may scare them. In fact, I often avoid making plans because I think people don’t want to be held responsible if there are consequences for my health. This stress, which accumulates and grows, can prevent me from living the life I want.

Another reason I may feel like a bother is that I require certain accommodations that healthy people don’t. This sometimes makes me think that friends only hang out with me because of pity.

I also sometimes dread the possibility that the emotional vulnerability that comes from having a chronic illness could ruin future relationships.

It may seem like few people have the emotional capacity to become close friends with someone who lives with a chronic illness. However, despite encountering a few people who don’t know how to appreciate our unique attributes, past failed relationships don’t mean we are undeserving of future ones. We shouldn’t focus our attention on people who don’t have the energy for us, but rather on those who choose to be present in our lives.

People with chronic illness may ask themselves, “Will I constantly feel like a nuisance?” The answer is no! This is especially true if we do our best to appreciate those who dedicate their time to us. How others choose to serve and accommodate us during our times of need reflects who they are as people.

Those who choose to be there for us don’t expect anything in return, so we shouldn’t worry about being a burden. We should view their actions as coming from the goodness of their hearts. Why would anyone spend their free time with us if it didn’t bring them joy?

We need to stop doubting our relationships, which is a waste of our energy. Instead, we can return the love we are given and show our appreciation. Then, when our bodies allow it, we can return the favor.


Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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