My Normal Life Now

I look in the mirror and I don’t even recognize myself anymore. Where is the strong, confident, beautiful girl I used to be? Ever since I got sick, I slowly shut out everyone and everything in my life until I had my own world of books, music, Doctors, and my husband. I rarely left the house except for shopping and many many doctor visits. Somehow that routine stuck.

Two years later, that is still my life. I stay home, clean, then relax all day. Trying to manage my pain and hope I can make it one more day. On my good days, I manage to clean the house and maybe do laundry. On my bad days all I can manage to do is move from the bed to the couch and usually  I don’t move from there, not even to get something to eat.

I know that most of my routine is by force now because of the pain, but it wasn’t that way two years ago.

When I first got sick, I still went out with friends and family, still had whatever social life I could have while being in pain all the time. But after a while, I got sicker and started having more pain then I could handle. I started staying home more, relaxing. The longer I stayed inside, the less I got invited to do anything and pretty soon the texts and calls stopped completely after not being able to go out due to my severe pain levels. After a while, I just turned off my phone and ignored everyone, becoming self isolated. I couldn’t stand to go outside because I knew if I did I would be in pain, or I would see someone I knew and they would avoid eye contact and walk the other way.

This isn’t to make you feel bad for me, this is just what I do every day. I am not lazy. I am in Pain! I do not sit around because I WANT to, I sit around all day because I HAVE to. I do everything that I can do make myself feel better every day. There is no cure for my disease, and I am not optimistic for any cure in the near future. I have lost many friends and family members over the course of my life, but not as many as I have in just these two short years. Yes, part of it was my fault. But part of it was also theirs. For not even trying to understand when I didn’t feel good enough to go to the movies or walk around town for a few hours.They always say I am making excuses because I just want to be lazy all day. Or even when they asked about my health but then didn’t want to know because they thought I was doing it for attention. I showed them doctor notes and medical records and still they turned their backs on me, claiming it was too hard to be around me when I am going through this, or that if I had just done something differently then maybe I would not have caught this disease. This IS NOT something you can catch. It is just something that happens to over 4.2 million people as of December 2012.

Chronic pain is no joke. Most people with Chronic pain try and hide how much they hurt because they do not want to be a burden on anyone or because people get tired of them always saying they do not feel good. But do you know the hardest part of this disease for me? It isn’t the constant pain, or the severe lack of sleep due to pain. Its the fact that when people actually want to know about me and what I go through, they decide after listening that it would be too hard for them to stay around while I go through this. So they leave. Thinking it will be easier for them. It may be for them. But for me? That’s the part that kills me.

Every time someone learns I have severe health problems, they give me that look like I shouldn’t be out of my house. Some of the comments I have heard either directly said to me or behind my back when they thought I was out of earshot hurt so badly that I started to believe those things about myself. For months I laid in bed, just thinking those things over and over again.

Until one day a very good friend of mine came over, got me up and dressed and started taking me out once in a while. I slowly started going out more, though never alone. I started getting my appitite back. I even started going to a support group.

Life has not gotten much easier since I got sick. It’s still the same routine and same boring day after another. But there is one difference that wasn’t there two years ago. I am stronger now. I can finally feel good about myself again and when I start feeling down, I just look back and see how far I have come.

My illness used to control me. Now I control it.

Credits photo: Becky Wetherington

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