“…I’ve been living with a shadow overhead, I’ve been sleeping with a cloud above my bed…”

Published October 22, 2012 by crazyinpink

I had hoped that the cloud above my head and the pain in my tummy would pass by quickly and the next time I posted, I’d be back to my positive, smiley self.  Unfortunately, I was lulled into a false sense of normality before another wave crashed over me.  I feel like I don’t even make sense anymore so bear with these awkward expressions of what’s going on in my world.

Settling into life as a PhD student is difficult, more so than I thought it would be.  It’s very isolating, you just have to go off and do your stuff while also attending all these academic things so you’re seen to be a serious student.  I guess it’s tough for me to get going because I’m doing something I know next to nothing about.  In most cases, a PhD is the ultimate expression of your research interests so you already know a little about it and want to take it further.  With me, I’m doing mine on something somebody else picked.  I have no idea what I’m doing and have, like, zero motivation to actually do it.

The excitement of moving into my office lasted all of three days until it became clear to me that while sharing an office with my Best Friend is great in some ways, it’s also a giant pain in the ass.  Great because he ignores my random habits and lets me pace around when I’m too sore to sit still.  Pain in the ass because we are spending way too much time together and living in each other’s pockets.  He’s actually started accidentally calling me ‘mummy’. :s

On top of that, he says things when it’s just the two of us in our office then says the exact opposite when we’re with other people.  Mainly this is over conference organisation stuff, he takes credit for my ideas, takes on all the work when in reality we do it together and constantly contradicts me in front of the others.  I don’t even think he knows that he does it.

On Friday, after our committee meeting, a group of us went out for lunch.  Since I still seem unable to handle actual meals, I ordered the smallest thing on the menu.  I ate my four chicken goujons while everyone else chowed down on burgers, pizzas and steaks.  Then I felt that all-too-familiar twinge.  After a while of fidgeting and squirming at the table, not even paying attention to whatever stupidly intellectual conversation everyone was having, I went outside.  I had intended on just getting myself together for a few minutes and returning.  I stayed out for twenty minutes.  Eventually, someone came to find me.  It wasn’t even Best Friend.  It was a lovely American girl who got my bag for me, sympathised as she has a long-term health condition.  She’d even heard of endometriosis and gasped in horror when I said that that was what was wrong with me.  She offered to walk me to my car but Best Friend insisted that she didn’t ‘waste anymore of her time’.  He walked me through the park to my car, barely speaking, letting me carry my bag and coat.  When I had to stop for a minute and steady myself, he pointedly looked at his watch and sighed.

I was already fighting back tears from the pain but I couldn’t understand why he was acting like this.  I thought we had moved on from the days when he didn’t get it.  I thought he understood, or was at least trying to.  I told him to go back and he disappeared without a hug or look back.  He never contacted me to see how I am (though I got a lovely facebook message from the American girl).

I feel so hurt.  What happened to the guy who not two months ago was asking me all kinds of questions about endo and how it affects me?  It’s like he can only be sympathetic when he has the time to.


Anyway, I’m slowly lifting myself out of whatever fog has been gathering around me lately.  Maybe things like this wouldn’t bother me so much if I were feeling myself.  I’ve spent time with some friends and although I don’t like moaning and complaining to people, I’ve tried to be more honest about how I’m doing.  I think that’s helping me a bit.  It doesn’t feel so much in my head now.  Feeling down is so exhausting, I want my optimism back now please…


4 comments on ““…I’ve been living with a shadow overhead, I’ve been sleeping with a cloud above my bed…”

  • Hang in there lady! Do these pains usually go away in time? I think you need to talk to ‘best friend’. I think the people closest to us sometimes do not see how their indifference can hurt us. Sounds like you are pretty irritated with him! Hope things start turning around for you soon!

    • Thank you 🙂
      The pains last for about two hours after eating. I’ve found that certain foods don’t cause pain, things like soup or mashed potatoes, and I’m not eating as much as usual. Strangely I’m not even that hungry. Going to see doctor next week about it.
      I’m starting to feel better thanks, everything just seemed to be going wrong.

  • First, why are you doing a PhD in something someone else picked? I can’t imagine doing that. :/

    I do want to say, however hard it may be to hear, that Best Friend will come around. My husband knows literally everything about my illness and is generally supportive, but even he has the checking-his-watch days while I’m literally weeping from pain. It’s hard, so hard, for healthy people to get it. The comfort, though, is that on the days when he is understanding (which, like I said, is the majority of the time) if I ask about the times he was less than understanding, he’s always apologetic and says very honestly that it’s just hard, it’s hard when I was fine one second and hurt the next and he can’t see why.

    Another big factor is if he thinks I don’t want to do the thing in the first place – for instance, I made us late to his family reunion, which was a 6 hour drive away anyway and that’s hard, but I wasn’t exactly excited to go either. I’m pretty honest about the fact that I just don’t fit in with his family. So it wasn’t exactly that he thought I was faking, but it did seem like, you know “Oh, typical. You’ll muscle through for the boat trip with YOUR family, but when it’s MY family…”

    Here’s the post I wrote about that terrible experience: http://doilooksick.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/sick-or-just-selfish/

    And here’s the follow up, which is important too.

    I hope this helps, and I hope he comes around. Hugs!

  • Wow. Thank you so much for your support Rachel. I just read your posts on this topic and the one about the guy in church and I literally cried. You’ve hit the nail on the head. It frustrates the hell out of me when I can’t even predict what my body will or won’t let me do, how much harder must it be for people who only see part of the story?

    Best Friend is a very complex human being (do you watch The Big Bang Theory, cos he is like the history version of Sheldon) and I know it is hard for him to process things. He makes comments about me being able to spend time with friends or do my choir stuff and yet not being able to go to archives or seminars. I try to explain that although he can do everything he wants, I can’t and I need to have a release every now and then to keep me sane. As I write this, it has dawned on me that I’ve never told him about the spoon theory…I wonder if that’ll help.

    Reading your posts has definitely helped. I need to be more honest. The thing is, as I’m sure you know, it’s easy to make light of the situation I’m in, make jokes and downplay it.
    Thanks again 🙂

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