This past Saturday, the first day where I would have been able to stand and walk and catch up on life after my back injury, I was shot down with an intestinal illness that knocked me out for much of the weekend. And while this really isn't interesting for anyone to read about, I just have to vent and say how horribly frustrating it is to be sick for this long and how frustrating it is to go through life with a chronic health problem.
I feel like I do a pretty good job of keeping my spirit up on a daily basis with my back pain. And it's true that I can't lift, can't run, can't sit on a hard surface, etc., but when it comes to day to day activities, I can do most things. However, when the injury gets acute, as it did this past week, and completely debilitates you and you're told by two specialists that it was nothing more than bad luck and is just a symptom of your condition, it's incredibly disheartening.
Last week when I was bent in half and wearing my brace, I was telling B that I was shocked at the sight of myself every time I went into the bathroom. I couldn't move and was wearing a huge sweatshirt, but when I went to use the bathroom, I'd have to lift up my sweatshirt and remove the brace and the reflection in the mirror was startling. I felt like I was a hundred, with creaky and gnarled tree limbs for joints, yet what I saw was a very small and very fit woman in a small purple tank top and it was such a jarring difference from what I felt like. It brought my frustration to life in such a vivid way.
And when you're on the couch for an entire week and when it's a problem that won't go away but will just get a little easier to handle, it makes you feel old. It makes you feel older than your peers and unable to participate in life. It makes you question whether you'll ever be able to lift your children up or have as many children as you want, or what else you'll have to deal with.
And I fully realize that this is just a particularly frustrating period and that I really will feel better about this soon. However, a lot of the frustration comes from feeling like no one understands what you're going through, so in writing this, I'm hoping to alleviate a little of that. After all, the main reason anyone becomes a writer (or a blogger) is because they have a story to tell and a need for it to be heard. Whether it was my journals as a child, my writing therapy business in my twenties, or this blog in my thirties, I have always felt that I've had hundreds of stories that lived inside of me and this is just one of them. I would love to tell you that chronic pain wasn't part of my life's story, but it is, and on the grand scheme of things, it's less than what other people have to deal with on a daily basis, so for that I'm grateful.
If you're willing to share, I'd love to know from you what is the one thing that you wish people really understood about you? Even one sentence will do - what is the one part of being you that you wish people understood on a deeper level?