What is it according to you?
Have you ever REALLY been intimate with someone?
Intimacy is scary shit.
It is being honestly connected in an emotional way. Like he/she can read your mind. Your soul is just so clear to that person. It is having faith in, and courage to, trust others by expressing your true thoughts and feelings without fear.
At its core, intimacy is about deep human connection, a fundamental need we all have as social beings. It is about feeling truly understood and accepted, and in turn, understanding and accepting others. While it may be scary to put ourselves out there and risk rejection, the rewards of deep intimacy are well worth the effort.
Doesn’t it scares you a bit? It does me!
Intimacy Is Largely Missing From Many Personal Relationships.
This is especially true in relationships living with chronic illness. According to the dictionary, Intimacy is “close acquaintance, association, or familiarity.” But, I believe Intimacy is best described as a state of “comfort, trust, and warmth,” It can be towards friends, partners, pets, and others.
There are 8 types of intimacy:
- Physical (sexual): self-explanatory
- Physical (non-sexual): hugs, petting animals, etc.
- Proximal: being in the same place together, near each other
- Recreational: having fun together
- Occupational: talking about work or school, working together
- Intellectual: discussing world issues, etc.
- Emotional: coming to each other in times of crisis, sharing feelings and memories
- Spiritual: talking about beliefs, the “big questions”
Thinking About Emotional Intimacy
When I think of intimacy, I am mostly thinking about emotional intimacy, as opposed to sexual intimacy. This is the intimacy most people with chronic illness crave. Getting to know someone better, in depth, wanting to know what makes them tick, and wanting to know makes their heart pound. Giving them the ability to live vicariously through your experiences and expecting the same in return.
Maintaining intimacy is particularly hard with chronic illness. The hardest to find and maintain is our inability to consistently engage with others. Those without chronic illnesses find it hard to understand why you can’t return a text message or why you can’t go visit with them and have coffee, or why you don’t want to go see a movie with them.People with Fibromyalgia, CFS, and the other chronic illnesses can’t adequately express to others the fatigue and pain they live with every day. Click To Tweet
Express Your True Self
People go to workshops all over the world to experience just a single weekend of intimacy. But you don’t need a weekend retreat to be intimate.Just get in touch with your heart, embrace the reality of your circumstances, express your true self, and educate those with whom you are intimate as to your limitations Click To Tweet
Then follow where it leads you…
One thought on “Intimacy With Chronic Illness”
I love your article Thomas. I especially like “Intimacy is who you tell your dreams and fears to” and “The intimacy of souls is something very rare” as this is what I have experienced in my life. I have not given much thought to these issues so your article explains a lot of things for me. Thanks so much.