I try my best to be positive, for myself, as well as appearing and showing everyone I have a positive attitude despite having many health problems, that significantly affect all matters of daily life.
When I ask myself, why do I do this? Why do I try hide the terrible pain I’m in? Why do I come across ‘well’, when I’m not? Why do I reply ‘I’m ok’, and smile, when there are things affecting me, when someone asks how I am?
I get the impression from a lot of people, unless they have chronic illnesses themselves or are my immediate family, think I am generally fit, young and healthy with a couple of minor problems, past medical problems and I’m like any 26 year old, but appear rude, withdrawn, or even lazy in their eyes?
In some ways, I put it down to me not really saying how I’m feeling or what’s actually going on.
People can’t mind read, so if I say I’m ok, maybe they think I am.
But I know from personal experience of I ask someone how they are, if they say ok, they may not be.
When you have chronic illnesses and your ill every minute of day, every week, every month, every year, of course you don’t want to be, so you want to fool yourself and others that you are well.
You want to fit in. You don’t want to be a burden on people and you don’t want to seem like your moaning all the time.
I’ve become so use to disguising the pain I’m in, or how nauseas I am, it’s become the ‘norm’ for me to smile and reply I’m ok. When behind this smile, I’m biting my tongue trying to divert the pain from the worst area, I’m fighting in my head trying to distract myself from it. Quite a few times, I’ve been out somewhere, say visiting family, I’ve gone to the toilet to be sick, and i come out quietly, feeling awful, spaced out. I must look a little flushed or pale, I get asked ‘you ok?’ and I do a small smile and answer quietly ‘I’m ok’. They don’t have a clue I’m in agony and have just been spewing my guts up. And that when I’m looking at them, their are 3 of them spinning around.
Sometimes, I’ve come out, and said quietly ‘oh I’ve just been sick, I’m fine’.
I’m sure they must seem a little surprised how calm i am and because of that just carry on and ignore what i just said.
I’m not looking to be fussed over it, that’s why I don’t make a huge deal out of it. It happens so often too (being sick). I just want to be acknowledged or understood that I’m unwell all the time, and at times it can get worse, and
Just because I’m smiling and talking, it doesn’t mean to say my body is not in debilitating pain in my spine, aches and pain in my arms, shoulders, light headed, dizzy, feeling nauseas, burning and reflux, painful spasms in my legs, back, abdomen, headache, etc. and these are almost all constant!
It’s because I don’t want to feel ill all the time, I want it to go away, I want to feel well, and I want others to see me as the same.
So what I’m saying, is that I want my friends and family to understand and appreciate that I’m trying my best to join in and live my life the best I can, but that underneath this my body is battling all sorts of nasty problems that cause terrible pain and symptoms that affect everything in my life right down to the most basic of things, such as getting dressed, going to the toilet, how I sit, how I talk, what I do and don’t do, etc.
If at times I do seem a little withdrawn, it’s because I’m constantly fighting this battle with my body.
When I can’t hide the pain behind my smile, the days when it’s unbearable, I don’t let anyone see me at my worst.
I’m not very good at describing how I feel. Hopefully it makes sense.
Does anybody else feel like they do this with having chronic illnesses? Or know of friends/family who have chronic illnesses and you know what they go through or didnt realise what they go through?