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Why I Feel Unlovable

Before I start this out, I just want to add a little warning that this isn’t my usual uplifting-type article. Full disclosure, I’ve been more depressed lately, so it’s got me on a different way of thinking.

AS has put a strain on my relationships

Whether friendships or more intimate relationships, AS has definitely added extra stress to both types. I find that most people just don’t know what to say, and then they stop trying to find something to say after a while.

Yes, having ankylosing spondylitis makes my life more difficult. Yes, I tend to talk about it a lot. How could I not? It affects every aspect of my life. I think some people see talking about my disease as me complaining about it (I mostly only complain during a flare).

Why do I talk about what I’m going through so much and so openly? Because I want to show others what invisible illnesses are like. What someone could be going through that you can’t see, or have any idea.

I’ve experienced a lot of heartbreak since I developed AS. Friends have broken my heart, family members have broken my heart, and boyfriends have broken my heart. I always feel like AS has at least a little hand in that.

People say they can handle it

When I first tell a friend or potential boyfriend about having AS the most common response is “Oh wow I’m so sorry…if you ever need anything I’m here for you!” Sure, they might mean it at first, but it doesn’t tend to last very long.

I’ve had two relationships end this year (fairly quickly) because they said they could handle it, and didn’t know exactly what “it” was. With my AS comes severe fatigue, not being able to be too active, depression, anxiety, and quite often, frustration.

I get mad at myself

I get frustrated with the things I can no longer do, or because I’m always at a doctor’s appointment. Sometimes I’m just annoyed with myself for needing so much help. Now I understand how difficult it is to watch someone you love go through something major and not be able to help. Most times, though, all we need is support, someone to listen, say “I hear you, and I’m with you”, and someone to stick around.

When I’m met with frustration, anger, and avoidance, it makes me feel terrible about myself. I get mad at myself for being a “sick person.” Why do I have so many problems? Of course no one wants to deal with this. Everyone says they’ll stick around but when things get hard, they leave me. No one wants to be there for me forever. These are some of the thoughts that run through my head.

I feel unlovable

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m extremely unlovable. Who wants to love someone that pretty much always needs medical attention? Especially with people my age (23), no one wants to stick around for all of this. They may say they do, but they don’t really mean it.

I feel like a burden to everyone. Friends, family, and people I’ve been in relationships with. I feel like I don’t add much positivity to their lives. I cause stress and feelings of helplessness. I never want to make anyone feel bad. But in turn, I feel worse instead. It’s extremely hard to balance everything.

What do you do when you start to feel bad about having AS?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Lisa Marie Basile moderator
    6 days ago

    Steff, I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this way. I am sure you are going though a lot of reframing/searching/change, etc. So I share my story as mine, not as an assumption on yours:

    At the beginning of my diagnosis — I think three or four years ago, but it was about 10 yrs of pain altogether — I felt similarly. I did lose friends. I have spent a lot of time reframing my perspective, and it’s helped. I used to fall into victim vs not victim thinking, and it hurt me. I let myself believe they were doing this *to* me by not getting it. And sometimes I still do. But one of the biggest things was letting them go and only nurturing ppl who get it (although, let’s be honest, no one really does). Now I think, “I’m only giving energy to people who SEE me and stick with it.” And it’s helped. I don’t feel less-than. I feel stronger. But this has its limits at times, and it takes a lot of journaling/meditating. I still fail. But it helps a lot.

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