Chronic Pain, Chronically Hiding

Much has been said about the hidden nature of pain and disorders that don’t show in the body. There are memes galore covering, “just because people with chronic conditions don’t look sick doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering as much as people who do.

Bodies are funny things, the way they trudge along through the world, allowing people with certain very serious medical condition to look pretty as peaches, while less serious conditions can seriously affect a person’s appearance.

Whether the pain that a person lives with is emotional, physical, inside, or out… it takes a toll. Pain causes changes in a person that the casual observer might mistake for exhaustion or a world-weariness. Our loved ones know, however, that the hollowness around our eyes… the pulled look in our face… the smile that isn’t quite right is the pain oozing out of us.

I’ve spoken about my pain on Facebook, and rather candidly so, because I think it is important for me to be honest with myself about who I am and what I am living with. I have said things like, “I try to focus on the good things, because that is what I want to remember when I look back at these years.” I mean it. I don’t want to remember the pain. I don’t want to remember that I stopped taking pictures of myself because I hated the way Botox changed my face. I don’t want to remember the hospitals and the needles and the constant feeling of someone grinding a broken bottle into the left side of my head. Yet, I still think I have to be real about it.

Those are pretty awful things to recall. And, when I really look at myself honestly, they are shameful things. I don’t want you to know how much I hurt. I don’t want to talk about how miserable I am. When I made my vlog about my condition the other day I had to detatch myself as much as possible. When I talk about it… when I think about it… it’s too much for me. It’s overwhelming to think of the amount of pain I am always in. It doesn’t feel like any human could possibly bear this.

And yet I am..

And yet I am.

Here I am, living, somehow. I’ve split myself in two… and I’m in denial most of the time about my capabilities. This is often to my detriment. Frequently, I push myself far too hard. I lie about how I feel because I sense how uncomfortable it makes people.

Today, a fellow sufferer asked, “How are you? Really.”

That’s like chronic-pain-code for, “Fess up, what’s going on. Don’t lie, because my life is shit too. Don’t you dare lie. We suffer and we owe each other to be honest when we can with the people who understand.”

I was honest. I told her all about the shit storm of worries and chaos in my world. The lack of money. The excess of hurt. The constant stress.

She determined we needed hugs and glitter.

You cover everything in glitter when you hurt, because it distracts you from the reality of the situation.

Hi, I’m Chastain. I hurt all of the fucking time. I have no idea how I stand it or how I’m still alive. I don’t want you to see this part of me, so I’m going to turn around, count to three… and when I turn back around I’ll be smiling.

And none of this will have ever happened.

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