So I thought I would start this blog by introducing myself……
Telling someone enough about yourself to help them form an opinion of you, isn’t that one of the hardest things to do at times? “So tell me a little bit about yourself?” (sounds of crickets fill the air) ha!
Especially for a person living with a chronic illness, it is sometimes a hard question to answer. I think we have all been in a situation when meeting new people when we don’t know exactly how to describe ourselves…. When someone new says:
Hi, I am (Sally, Jo, John, Peter, Jim) and I am a ________ (fill in the blank with ANY occupation ie. dentist, doctor, lawyer, garbage man, salesperson) and in my free time I enjoy _____________ (fill in the blank with ANY special interest or hobby that requires a healthy body ie. rock climbing, sky diving, wrestling lions, shopping for hours straight), tell me a little bit about yourself!”.
What do YOU DO? How honest should you be in that situation? You really want to say:
I am actually a stay at home mom, and a sometimes stay in bed mom. I think it is a small victory I got out of bed today, and I am filled with anxiety to be so far from the comforts of my home. I am a fish out of water once you take away my ice pack, heating pad, orthopedic mattress, cervical pillow, and my jammies! I take so much medication every day that sometimes it is hard to remember my phone number, postal code, and where I parked the car. I battle white-knuckle-ing, take your breath away pain 24/7. In my spare time, I try to catch up on sleep, take hot baths not only for enjoyment, but because it is the only way I am able to move, and when I have done that, the rest of my time is spent feeling guilty that I just can’t throw the ball in the yard with my son. My body has become a permanent prison, and no matter how much I want to do some things, I just can’t. I also love to cuddle, but only when it doesn’t hurt. And it makes me sad every time my honey has to ask “can I hug you?” because he is fearful of causing more pain”.
WELL OF COURSE WE DON’T SAY THAT!
We don’t say things like that because a part of having an invisible illness is that we can physically hide our pain from the rest of the world. We HIDE! … It becomes a coping mechanism for a lot of us. Along with hiding our physical pain, we learn to hide our emotional pain as well. So instead we stumble through something along these lines:
Oh I am actually a stay at home parent, and I enjoy ____________ (fill in this blank with a sedentary hobby ie. knitting, crocheting, reading, chess, going to the spa)
and then we just hope the other person hasn’t seen the glint of discomfort in our eyes. Chances are they didn’t. The longer we are in pain the better we become at hiding our true selves. Admit it, you have done it too! SOOOOOO…….. (as I take a big breath and hold my anxiety in the pit of my stomach), let me be the FIRST to introduce myself HONESTLY……..
I am a 35-year-old Mom. My son, my honey and my parents are my life. I have had some major health issues since birth, and some might say it is miraculous that I am even on this planet. I have a soft heart. I have a passionate spirit. I am an avid reader. I am creative. I have a passion for beads and yarn and music. And unfortunately, pain often controls my life.
I have a combination of diseases and disorders that can take away my dignity, my sanity, my happiness and my breath. I suffer from severe myofascial pain syndrome, severe fibromyalgia, TMJD, CFS, endometriosis, congenital heart disease, unclassified nerve pain, anxiety, insomnia, ligamental instability and chronic pelvic pain among other things. I suffer from chronic and disabling pain. Although my diagnosis and my treatment plan may differ from yours, if you suffer from chronic pain, I can relate. And I am sorry that you know what it means to live a life less ordinary because of whatever condition brings you here, but I am SO happy to meet you!!!! And I cannot wait to get to know you.
Most of my days are the same. I fight through pain. I fight through pain, and when I feel like giving up, when I feel like I am at the end of my rope, I fight harder. Pain is my full-time job. When I am not fighting pain, I am a proud, passionate, and protective mom. I am a devoted, and dedicated partner to the love of my life. I am also a jewelry designer. If pain wasn’t my full-time job, jewelry would be. Hopefully one day things will change, but for now I accept my life the way it is, and I am working on loving myself exactly as I am. Life is a journey, not an event for a reason… and I am thankful everyday for an opportunity to learn, to love, and to grow.
So there you have it, a little bit about myself. If you have stopped by and taken the time to read, I’d love for you to leave a comment!