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The concept of time when living with a Chronic Illness

It’s hard to believe that time can pass so fast, yet so slowly, at the same time! I can’t liken the feeling of chronic illness to anything other for those who do not suffer to understand. On one hand, days feel like they last forever, stretching on and on as the pain consumes you and you’re unable to complete the simplest task that others take for granted. It’s like a bizarre time loop where it’s always not quite time for something. Not quite time for more painkillers, not quite time for lunch, not quite time for a programme that you enjoy, not quite time for that appointment yet, not quite time for a companion to visit. So your days go on and on like this, dragging and stretching and it never quite being the time for something to happen. Then suddenly, 6 months have passed and you don’t remember any of it. Not for any other reason other than nothing has really happened to remember. And it is this bizarre new concept of time that I have found most difficult to come to terms with throughout my chronic illness.

Will time ever seem normal again? It seems like becoming nocturnal is the only solution to sleep. Attempting to sleep during evening hours is often very unfruitful and can lead to a vast expanse of time dedicated to counting the marks on the ceiling, or contemplating the location of different body parts of mythical creatures. Laying in bed with your snoring partner can also lead to unsociable thoughts like “If I hold his nose, will he shut up?” and “How many elbow jabs are required to turn him over?” Although there are moments when collecting this data can be entertaining, the novelty soon wears off. Any attempts to be productive during the day will frequently lead to lengthy naps, rendering this time useless too.

After all, there are only so many times one person can watch the beginning of the same Judge Rinder episode before saving it for the next day.  And for me, that limit is six.



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