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“Okay, for example. Say you found out that your mom is sick; your mom has terminal cancer. Suddenly, there’s this outpouring of support for you that never existed before. People are actually going out of their way to make sure you’re all right, from every direction it’s coming — it’s inescapable, the support. And initially, that’s great because all of these little interruptions, these phone calls and messages and cooked meals distract you from the terrifying reality that your mother is going to die; but at some point, it becomes not-so-great. At some point, you begin to feel as though you solely exist in the context of your mother’s illness. And it’s bad enough that this morbid inevitability is following you every second of every day, but now it’s what people refer to you as — ‘my friend whose mother is dying of cancer’ — and the things you thought about before you got the news — your crushing debt and your crumbling relationships and just… a f-cking traffic ticket you still haven’t paid — these things have taken a backseat, they are not supposed to matter anymore. No one asks about these things. No one asks how you are. It’s just “How’s your mom?” And the irony is that talking about these trivial, meaningless things is all it would take to distract you, to keep your mind off of your mom for one f-cking second, but everyone’s too afraid to ask and you’re too afraid to tell. You’re too afraid to say, ‘My job is killing me,’ without adding, ‘…and my mother is dying’ to the end of it. This is how your existence is defined, for the foreseeable future. Is there a name for that? Is there some sort of… psychological term that you know of?”
“Sounds a little like mild PTSD. Maybe Survivor’s Guilt? Not Munchausen by Proxy… hm. I mean, this feeling you’re describing, it’s pretty common.”
“So, no word for wishing someone would just ask how you’re doing.”
“Maybe just loneliness.”"