How Lupus and Divorce Are Connected
Many of my fellow lupus warriors don’t have anyone standing behind them, easing their burden and being that shoulder they can lean on. Though they are in a relationship, they are dealing with their lupus in isolation, pushing through their challenges and pain alone and their facing each fear without the support of the one person who should be their source of strength.
This can be emotionally devastating to someone with this horrible disease, and it can also be dangerous.
The Need for Support
There is one certainty about having this disease, and that is that proper support from a loved one is desperately needed. I did not always have that support, making my road to lupus acceptance a long one; which is precisely why I appreciate and recognize the vast difference in my life now that I do.
I am now married to someone who truly cares about my health and what I must endure — but that was not always my situation.
I was married for more than 19 years to someone who lacked empathy and became outwardly angry when any illness occurred. This was not limited to lupus, and I was not yet diagnosed back then.
But, I could be certain that whatever health issue arose, and there were many that my doctor now believes were lupus-related, I was supposed to keep quiet and keep going.
I did not take proper care of myself because of the repercussions it would cause (fights, anger and hostility directed at me for being so much less than I should have been) and my health suffered because of it. My health issues had to get pretty bad before I would seek any medical help, and the stress of being in this relationship did not help.
I had episodes of pleurisy (where the lining of my lungs would swell), pancreatitis (where my pancreas swelled for no reason), pneumonia, and unexplainable pain in my joints and throughout my body. I would catch the flu and it would take four weeks to get over it. And through it all, I was always “in trouble” for being sick or not up to doing all that I should do each day.
I began to hide my health issues and would drive myself to the hospital when it was really severe. The person who had vowed “in sickness and in health” was always angry about the cost of doctors, medications, and even if I ordered take-out food for dinner because I was in pain and did not feel up to cooking.
I would receive a typed-up bill for all that I cost him. Seriously, I was billed by my own husband for the cost of my food. I was forever a failure in his eyes and that feeling began to take root somewhere deep inside me.
This was certainly not the only reason I divorced, but it is one of many solid reasons I began to dream about being free of that relationship. It was not an easy path to take, though.
I was raised to believe marriage was forever and I was convinced that perhaps nobody could love me because I was such a worthless burden. It took me years to devise a way to leave, support myself and my two daughters and simply believe I could survive on my own.
So, I am here to tell you that if you do not have a supportive partner or spouse, even if it’s just that they lack sympathy and think you should just ignore health issues and “suck it up,” then perhaps it’s time to rethink how your relationship works — or if it simply doesn’t.