Learning to live with a chronic illness and chronic pain can feel impossible sometimes. How do you constantly change plans with friends and family because you’re in too much pain, or you just don’t think
Learning to live with a chronic illness and chronic pain can feel impossible sometimes. How do you constantly change plans with friends and family because you’re in too much pain, or you just don’t think you will have enough energy for dinner or whatever activity they suggest? How do you handle having to tell work that you just can’t make it in because you have a headache? Again? Having to tell them anything is one of the hardest parts of living with these conditions so I’ve tried to keep it to myself.
I didn’t want anyone to find out that I was somehow ‘less than’, as I frequently see myself. I wasn’t looking for sympathy, or pity, or frankly any attention. And not because of them, but because of ME. So, I made it a point to look as “normal” as I can, every day. I’m still so ashamed that I am not 100%. Is that weird? I’ve always thought that I should be stronger than this, and that I am somehow weaker for not being able to handle the constant upset that is my physical health. Attention or not, I have found that hibernating is not what is best for my mental and emotional health.
But, you don’t look sick.
Looking at me you may not even realize that anything is going on. Like I said above, I have made it a thing to appear “normal” to everyone in all situations. I spend more energy than I should on my appearance, but I really want to look like I’m relatively healthy. My highlighter and other makeup tricks that make my skin look healthy and full of color are my go-to products. I take the time to paint my fingernails and toenails for my own sanity. I figure if I take the time to care for myself, I may find that this is all easier to manage. You can’t change everything, but you can change how you react to those things.
I am a woman who loves to wear makeup and fix her hair. If you’re not, that’s fine too. Perhaps you spend your energy on something else. I probably should too! I have become so particular about things. Only comfortable fabrics touch this skin now. If I am always in pain, then give me something good to wrap up in. The types of fabrics out there these days are super soft and it’s perfect! I still follow the Plantar Fasciitis shoe rules for the most part, though you will see me in flip flops. Again, it’s about comfort. If it’s comfortable, I want it!
Losing coordination can make getting ready in a day a bit more complicated. I burn myself because I can’t hold on to my curling iron, or I just flat out drop it with no warning. It brings the term “butterfingers” to mind and happens pretty often actually. It’s also totally fun to poke myself in the eye with a makeup brush or mascara wand. Again, this is pretty frequent. I have been practicing a ‘no mistake look’ lately. HA! Getting ready with no melt down or no melting of my skin is not as easy as it seems. Stop curling it you say? Right! Not this girl! I’m not going down without a fight!
Regardless, sometimes it’s more about finding the energy to complete the task. I take breaks a lot of the time, but there isn’t always time for that. My family is always waiting on me to feel presentable to the world. Even as a professional I am always looking to adapt what I know. But, maybe I will get into that in another post.