Pain. Whether it’s physical or emotional, there’s no precise definition for it. Go ahead and look it up in the dictionary or search for it online; no one person will be able to describe just how much pain they are in, how much pain they feel, let alone, let some source of reference dictate what pain is and how it’s supposed to feel. That’s the thing with society today. You either feel this way or you don’t. And if you can’t explain the way you feel, then you must be crazy, right? No, you’re not, but it certainly feels like you’re being punished or toyed with when you’re told that your pain, you’re unbearable, excruciating, all over pain, is just in your head.
The pain that I have been feeling, that I have been suffering with, has delayed me from posting this entry. It also has me avoiding friends and loved ones. Being around them in pain wouldn’t be such an ordeal if I didn’t have to describe how I feel to them constantly. And then they ask things like “When do you think you’ll be feeling up to doing something”, “Are you feeling better yet?”–and the list goes on. Meanwhile, I don’t even know how I’m going to feel the very next minute. The pain I feel can be at its peak the moment I wake up in the morning or I could still be fighting it from the night before. It can get worse as the day goes on or become bearable for some time, like I’m at a stand-still; not getting any worse, not getting any better. My pain prevents me from doing the use-to-be-simple everyday tasks. My pain prevents me from getting out of bed, just barely making it to the bathroom. The pain I feel makes me feel stuck, lost, and guilty. And my pain isn’t just my pain; it’s YOUR pain or someone YOU know, someone YOU care about. The pain I feel can be different from what you feel or what someone else feels, but the point is, pain exists. My pain is real. Your pain is real. Visible or not, pain and suffering are real. Chronic pain sufferers might not have a noticeable wound or scar that is visible to the human eye, but they are suffering, that’s for sure. In silence—and we need to break that silence.
Some days, it’s easier to hide the pain than others. Some days, there’s no escaping it. You smile to pretend you’re okay until eventually, everyone can start to see through it. You use to be asked if you wanted to go to the store or if you wanted to go here or there. You become distant from everyone and everything around you. You’re still you, but you’re not at the same time. Being chronically ill, being in such pain, makes you a completely different person. You become a version of yourself you never thought you’d ever become; lost, lifeless, and stuck—when you yearn to be happy, determined, and free again. Happy to be free of these chronic chains holding you down, determined to start over, and free of negativity. Yes, you’re happy now. You have a roof over your head, a family that loves you, takes care of you, and want’s to be there for you, but you can’t help but wish things were different, wish things were easier for the ones you love so much, that they didn’t have to bear all this pain with you. But they are and instead of wishing things were easier, you need to accept how things really are. This is now. This moment is happening now— and we need to make the best of it. YOU need to make the best of it. Smile. Go out when you feel you have enough energy or just put in a movie, watch it with a loved one. It doesn’t matter if anyone can see through your smile or not. Don’t think about what anyone else may see or not see. If you feel well enough to do something, do it. If you don’t, you don’t.
Don’t feel guilty about feeling well one day and then horrible the very next. You can’t help how you feel, how you’re body feels. Your head might be thinking “Alright, let’s do this!” but your body is thinking “Must…lay…down…” and vice versa. Your body might be feeling good, you’re able to get around better than usual, but your mind is in such a rut and you just can’t snap out of the haze you’re in. Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe how it feels. You’re at a constant war with yourself—and you just can’t seem to win. What does help is support from others, from family and loved ones, but they’re not always going to understand, just like how you don’t understand any of this, what’s happening, why you feel the way you do, at times. Whether anyone else understands or not, what matters is how YOU are feeling, what YOU feel up to doing—and don’t let anyone else’s opinions get in the way.
Pain also makes you feel disconnected, just numb to everything. Your body is screaming in pain, yet, you feel nothing at the same time. You start to feel like this is all there is, that nothing is going to be any different tomorrow or the day after that and so forth. Eventually everyone around you just loses their patience, not with you, but your illness—but you can’t help but feel like they’ve just had it with you. There’s nothing no one can say anymore and you just sound like a broken record when they ask you what’s wrong. Hurtful comments linger in your mind, but they’re not as hurtful anymore, just a numbing reminder that you’re sick. “You’re only pretending to be sick to blow me off.” “You’re just saying you don’t feel good so you can get off the phone with me.” “You’re always sick.” “The only thing that’s getting between us is you being sick.” “You’re lazy.” “You need to get out more.” “She doesn’t do anything, just stays in bed all day.” “I don’t think the old Katie is ever coming back.” – Just some of the comments that have been said. My 13-year-old brother said a few of those, but even though he’s young and doesn’t fully understand what’s going on, it still hurts because he’s my brother and I just didn’t expect him to say those things to me– but he didn’t expect me to get sick. No one did. The other comments were from friends who don’t understand. I don’t blame them and I don’t hold anything against them for saying those things. That’s how they felt, but they just never stuck around long enough to hear how I was feeling. It’s just meant to be, though, because if they truly knew how I was feeling, they’d feel bad or obligated and I don’t want them to feel like they have to be here, a part of my life, when they really don’t want to be. And as I have mentioned before, reconnecting can be both very good and very painful. You feel like a weight, just weighing everyone down. The stuck and trapped feeling intensifies. Relatives aren’t going to understand because they’re not always around and when they are it’s always; “You look great!” and “What could possibly be wrong?” Your parents already have their plates full with bills, worrying about work, family, and now you being sick. You sit at the dinner table, wanting to say something, wanting to laugh along with everyone, but you just can’t. You’re frozen. You can’t say anything, can’t feel any kind of emotion. It’s like you’re not even in the same room. You tell them how you feel and it’s only right for them to say how they’re feeling back, even though they don’t mean anything by it or the tone of their voice. All of this is a lot. It’s a lot to take in. You feel the way you do because you can’t help it. You’re hurting physically and emotionally. And you’re just trying to bear them both, one day at a time.
Does it get better? Yes, yes it does. Even though the support of others is crucial during all of this, you need to offer support to yourself, be there for yourself. No one is always going to be there when you need them, when you need to hear their voice, to hear it’s all going to be okay. Friends and loved ones don’t know what else to say, so of course they’re going to tell you everything is going to be okay, but you’re only going to believe it if YOU know it’s true. So, believe it. Tell yourself it’s going to be okay. It might not be okay right now or tomorrow, or the next day after that, but it WILL be okay. Even if it feels like you’re just wasting your breath, say it. Say it, say it, SAY IT.
Pain also leaves you with nothing to say. You feel all these emotions and physical aches all at once, all the time, there’s going to come a time where you just become drained. Drained from everything just bearing down on you, feeling like you just can’t catch your breath, catch a break. You don’t want to be seen or thought of as someone who is always sick, someone who just stays in bed all day. You don’t want anyone to remember you that way. I don’t want to be remembered that way—it’s just hard being the girl, being that someone, that was always there for everyone else. You just can’t help but hope and wish that they’d be there to catch you one day, like you were always there for them. But they feel like they lost you too.
You may feel like you have no one, but you have you. You can’t lose you, you can’t give up on you because what will you have left? Nothing. No one can fight for you except yourself. Never, ever give up.
Healing thoughts and prayers to all-
**Sending love and strength to all our troops, past and present, as well as to their beloved families. They should not just be thought of on Veterans Day, but always. Not many stop and think about any of the men or women supporting us and this country about what they or their family may be personally battling with. We salute you. God Bless.**