In this column, I want to focus on a word that has been particularly difficult for me to talk about in the past. While it has synonyms such as envy or desire, this week I’m writing about the “J” word: jealousy.
It’s hard not to be jealous sometimes when particular situations arise, and I can’t help but think, “Man, my friends don’t have to do this.” I don’t desire a different family or an easier life. Still, I long for normalcy — to be able to go out to eat with my entire family or meet my friends without feeling guilty about not being home to help my parents take care of my sister. While my parents and others tell me that I should have my own life, those feelings don’t disappear.
Being a Sanfilippo family has its burdens, which I’ve discussed in a previous column. Some of that traces back to the “J” word. I imagine how carefree other sibling relationships are. However, I know that I wouldn’t have the same mentality or characteristics if Abby weren’t my sister. For me, it’s about finding a balance between recognizing those qualities in my life and telling myself that it’s OK to feel jealous sometimes.
Reassuring myself that my feelings are valid seems to be a recurring theme in this column. While I don’t want to be repetitive, this space has allowed me a glimpse into my mindset and how my sister’s illness affects me emotionally.
Many of the negative feelings that I’ve had toward my sister’s diagnosis — jealousy, anger, depression — have woven their way into my brain, telling me that I’m a bad sister. And those “It’s OK!” reminders light up the dark places where those negative feelings reside. I tell myself that I’m a human being and life is hard sometimes.
I typically end each column with a positive message to counter any negativity from what I’ve discussed. But when I thought about how to conclude this one, I realized that wrapping up each column neatly with a bow diminishes some of its purpose. I would usually tuck away my envy and feel guilty about expressing it.
However, when I started this column, I committed to being honest — and that includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. To stay true to my word, I must reveal those hidden feelings and give them a voice.
Note: Sanfilippo News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sanfilippo News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Sanfilippo syndrome.