Helping women with chronic illnesses

Chronic Illness And The ‘Groundhog Day’ Effect

Have you ever seen Groundhog Day? It’s where the main character keeps waking up to find the same things happening over and over. Do you ever feel like you’re having a similar type of repetition of patterns? In this case, I don’t mean experiencing the same symptoms over and over so much as how it is to interact with others when this is the case. How do the patterns of interaction repeat?

In addition to thinking about the “Groundhog Day Syndrome”, I’ve been thinking more about how looks can be deceiving for people living with chronic illness(es). I’ve written about this before on many occasions, such as here in Perception Deception.

Sometimes I feel like I’m experiencing a Groundhog Day syndrome of sorts. Sometimes I look at what’s happening in my life and it’s so similar to what has happened in the past that I can’t get over it. In the context of chronic illness and its impact on my life, this can manifest itself in a variety of ways.

For example, I can spend the time and energy explaining my illnesses, symptoms, and limitations to someone – and I can think that the message I was trying to convey was clear – but in the end it may become evident that the time and energy I spent on this was in vain. What I said may not have mattered much… if at all. Whether I didn’t get my message across or it, for whatever reason, wasn’t accepted by the person(s) I was attempting to communicate with, my efforts may not have much impact.

When this happens, I may get frustrated, hurt, and even angry. If I have done my best to explain what I can and can’t do without jeopardizing my health and/or exacerbating my pain levels and I encounter situations where people expect me to find a way to do things I shouldn’t be doing anyway, it really hurts… both emotionally and physically.

I have learned a great deal over the years about setting healthy boundaries and saying no to things that I know will worsen my health. However, there are still plenty of situations where I can’t control all of the circumstances around me. If the rules of the game are changed in the middle on me, no amount of preparation or talking in advance matters much. If I find myself in a situation like this, I find it extremely upsetting. I know I’m not alone in this because I’ve talked with hundreds of other chronic illness patients who have had experiences like this at one time or another.

For me, it is beyond exhausting, beyond frustrating, and beyond painful to find myself feeling forced into a situation that is bad for my health. The problem for me isn’t that I don’t know how to say no. I do. The problem isn’t that I’m willingly pushing myself way too hard either. I’m not. Sometimes despite one’s best efforts to avoid over-exertion or (avoidable) triggering of symptoms, one finds him or herself in a situation where there is no way out. In other words, if one agrees to an activity but that activity unfolds in a very different way than planned, it is sometimes impossible to simply discontinue the activity mid-stream.

There is no magic answer for this type of scenario. I fully realize that no one will be able to post a comment suggesting a way to avoid such situations. I guess I am writing this to vent some deep frustrations about it. Sometimes it helps to just let it out. I guess I feel like I have worked too hard over the last many years with both Traditional Western Medicine doctors and alternative medicine practitioners to take it lightly when my symptoms get needlessly exacerbated – which sends me backwards in my healing process rather than forward. I am not interested in moving backwards. I wish to move forward in the healing process. Having setbacks that could have been avoided frustrates me immensely. I know there are patients out there who can relate on some level to what I’m talking about.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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Reading: Chronic Illness And The ‘Groundhog Day’ Effect


1 teteNo Gravatar { 09.10.12 at 7:49 am }

Thank Jeanneendo
I neven kwen about the chronic illness until my dear friend told me and explained to me. Every time when I see and we talk about it I get to understand. I thank you for talking about it and I will be able to be close to my friend without tears and be strong for her
Kind love

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 09.10.12 at 2:34 pm }

Welcome tete!

Thank you for your kind words and for supporting your chronically ill friend!


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