I spend a good portion of my time and energy pretending to be something I’m not. I try to be like a healthy person and I’m not. News flash, no matter how many times I fake it I will never make myself into being healthy.
I know dear readers we have had this type of conversation before, and if you are fortunate enough to healthy you may not get this. Today while having a conversation with a friend in a restaurant, our waitress decided to offer my friend, and inadvertently me, this lovely gem of advice that if you fake it till you make it anything is possible. This includes dealing with chronic illness according to this waitress who clearly has a medical degree as well as working in the restaurant.
So if one fakes being well one will simply become well according to her theory. Believe you me, if it were this simply there would thousands of people with chronic illnesses and serious conditions on this band wagon.
Lim not sure why people who know nothing about me or my condition think they have the right to offer me unsolicited advice on what to do to get back to normal. It is a bit like this: let’s say you invented a widget machine; it is your pride and joy, you live for this machine. Now I come along knowing nothing about widgets or machines, but I tell you what you need to do to make it work better. You’d laugh at me, throw me out of your building and have a great story to tell.
With chronic illnesses like lupus I’m on the one with the widget machine and some stranger comes over to me and says things like: it’s all in how you view things, eat a healthy diet and avoid X, or have you tried Y it worked for my aunt when she had a cold. When I try to tell the stranger to get out of my shop the stranger gets offended and makes a comment about me not trying to get well or wanting pity.
So here’s the thing, just because I have lupus it doesn’t give people a free license to offer unsolicited advice.
The problem with invisible illnesses is that all too often people have a hard time understanding how sick you may be. The problem with chronic illnesses is the toll it takes over the course of time. If it were a shorter time you could gather your strength and get on with getting healthy. At least that’s what I tell myself.
The problem with chronic invisible illnes is that you never actually look as bad as you feel. You never look like you are completely falling apart and torn and tattered to being threadbare. All of this can make it hard for friends and family members to understand just how completely overwhelming a chronic invisible illness can be for the person who has it. I know from my own experiences that I’ve had people tell me that if I simply didn’t talk about lupus or think about it as often I’d feel so much better. If only it were that simple, believe me I’d be all over it.
The problem I have with lupus, well besides how it has taken over so many things in my life, is that because I do not look as sick as I am, I tend to try to be “normal” as much as I can. Being “normal” can be forcing myself to keep up with the healthy people. It can also mean that when I feel better than I usually do, I tend to cram too many things into the small amout of time I have. And I end up paying a steep price for it. Which results in me feeling worse than before.
I understand that it can be hard for healthy people to understand that even when I’m feeling a bit better than usual, I’m still not well and can’t just jump into the full on “normal” routine I once had. So I get tired of explaining and simple carry on pretending. Because it is easier that way, it becomes routine and chronically easier as time goes by.
My eyes hurt, my neck was burning and the throbbing in my head made concentration impossible. I had taken aspirin, tried a warm pack, attempted massage and nothing was working. I was utterly miserable and it seemed that the more I tired to eliminate the miserable feelings the worse it got.
some times you just have to stay with where you are, not because it’s easier but because doing anything else is too much. And some times, when you stop forcing things the situations change faster than when you force something.
You see things happen in their own time and change in their own time. When we try to alter plans or force things all that we do is make things worse.
So how did I get rid of all the pain in my eyes, neck, and head? I gave into it all, laid down and rested until it passed. Granted that was easier than what some people deal with, but my experience has been that it’s better to not force things. The same holds for people, we cannot force them to be or act in a way that is not true to who they are.