No man is an island. As much as we’d all like to believe we’re independent creatures, everybody depends on others for things like food, shelter, transportation and medical care.
But when you have to rely on others for your most basic self-care, from getting dressed to making a sandwich, ‘dependency’ gets a whole new meaning. Without help, everyday things suddenly become a major obstacle.
A study from the UK shows that many people with chronic illness are very concerned about becoming a burden. So much so, that some sick people will go to “supernormal lengths” to keep doing their part, even when that takes a physical toll on them. Being dependent can also make people feel useless, guilty and shameful. And this uselessness only intensifies the loss of self so many ill people struggle with.
But when you’re chronically ill and are limited in what you can do, how can you maintain a sense of independence despite your real reliance? There’s no simple answer, but here are some ideas.