My mother is a hypochondriac, and so my sister and I have grown to question, by default, everything she ever says about her health.
Six years ago, I got sick with an incurable condition. My sister has always questioned the validity of my condition, even though half a dozen doctors have confirmed it. While the condition is in remission, there are side effects that linger.
I can’t talk about my health struggles around my sister. I feel as though she dismisses them or invalidates them.
I can’t discuss my anxiety or panic attacks, even as they are happening. I can’t say no to going places because of my agoraphobia because I fear her reaction. I can’t mention the pain of my chronic hives because she’ll flippantly say “just put some lotion on it,” as if that will cure it.
I love my sister, but I wish I could be open and honest with her about what is going on in my life. But our mother has poisoned that potential. Every attempt at conversation about health ends in her shutting down. I understand why she does this, but I just wish that someday it could be different. We are not our mother, and we are allowed to get sick.