I’m in the land of the living; however, most of my residence today is in the I Am Chronically Unwell camp! That’s no problem!
Well it’s a bit of a problem…let me explain.
I’m what most people would consider invisibly unwell. Meaning that there’s not many external markers that give away my membership in the club of chronically unwell and/or sick individuals.
There’s millions of individuals who have invisible illnesses so that’s not the problem.
The problem is that at times my acting skills are so good that even I forget that chronic ailments take up residence in my body. Yes, acting skills! Day in and day out I purposely put on my best face and I muster up all the strength I can to downplay my membership to the chronically unwell club.
Through the years I’ve worked hard to not allow my ailments to define me. We’re not going to get into how psychological, physical, and emotional damaging this mindset can be when it has limited impact on the true state of illness.
I won’t say that this acting is a bad thing, neither will I declare it a good thing…I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. I’ll just say the acting is what I do on a daily basis. Acting as if I am free of any ailments despite the fact that my body is riddled with ailments became my way of life decades ago. So much so that presently acting well is simply a habit now.
Sigh. So when I have days like today when my illnesses outweigh my acting skills and I must pause…I struggle.
I struggle because I’ve spent so much time pretending to be well that I forget how to tend to my illnesses.
I struggle because no one is used to me saying no or being unable to participate in whatever activity they want me to.
I struggle because on those days (today) I’m forced to look at myself and see the illnesses that I fight so hard to ignore.
I struggle because the illnesses impact my entire being.
You’d think I’d only experienced days like today once every three years, the way it seems to knock me down. You would think that there’s no warning signals and that I’m always caught by surprise based on my reaction to days like today.
None of that is true.
I frequently experienced days like today. There’s generally always warning signs and I even take steps to prepare for the life interruptions. Yet, I’ll never get used to the toll days like today take on me.
Days like today will be familiar, yet foreign.