Chronic illnesses, Chronic pain, autoimmune disorders and diseases, they all change a person’s life forever, and not in a good way.
I’m not going to try to cover all of them, not even some of them. Because I don’t live with them all, I don’t know how they all affect someone’s body, or emotions. It wouldn’t be fair to try to “explain” someone else’s pain to them.
All I know, is what I’m going through.
I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I also have Chronic Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, & CPTSD (Childhood Post Traumatic Disorder).
You might not think that all of these qualify as Chronic illnesses, or Pain Disorders… And you’d be wrong.
RA is a chronic, degenerative, incurable disease. It’s most often one of the “hidden” diseases until it reaches one of it’s worst phases, because all of the pain is on a person’s insides. Joint pain isn’t obvious, until you can start seeing the gnarling of fingers, the oversize swelling of joints, the warping of stance.
And one of the things about chronic pain?
After a while of nonstop pain… Most people become somewhat used to it. We never have moments without some form of pain anymore, so can’t remember what that’s like.
And, as your body becomes used to the lower level constant aching… Your body resets its base level for pain.
Things that would cause a normal person to call out a 6 or 7 on a doctor’s pain scale, are now a 1 or 2 for us.
“It’s just always there, it’s normal”
Whether my face shows it or not… I’m always in pain, anymore.
Knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, lower back, hips…it’s like a sub-aural hum from elephants. Human ears don’t pitch for those, and my pain receptors don’t seem to pitch for the pain that’s constant, anymore.
My mental illnesses, Chronic Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, & CPTSD, are also hidden diseases.
Many people still don’t think they’re actually real. They claim it’s a “weakness of spirit”, or laziness, or, as some religious fanatics call it “infestation of evil”.
When, in reality, my body doesn’t produce certain chemicals to properly balance my brain, so I have to supplement them from the outside with medications.
Just like people with diabetes have to take certain medications to properly balance sugar/insulin levels.
And yet, I don’t know of anyone saying Diabetes isn’t real…
And as far as my mental illnesses go, most of them go back to traumas that happened when I was young, and my brain stopped making the chemicals to balance out the emotional damage from overuse of the stress chemicals.
How long can a person survive on adrenaline from a flight/fight/fawn response?
Eventually, it runs out.
And, as the lovely topper one this stacked shit sandwich –
All of them have a side symptom of exhaustion.
As a person with these illnesses, I struggle a lot to do certain things. And some days are a harder struggle than others. Some days…are just a wash.
And yet, no one can see any of them, unless I choose to show them, to talk about them, to try to explain.
But, because you can’t see them, they’re not real, right?
Cover your eyes, make them invisible, and they cease to exist?
That’s a 1-yr old game of peek-a-boo.
And I’m no longer playing.
I’m not invisible, and I won’t go away.
That’s why I moved back to my home town. Peace and quiet. No stress after my TBI and now PTSD. Everyone knows me now but leave me alone. But will help if I ask.
I’m glad you’ve found a measure of peace & stress-lessness. It is hard to find, especially in today’s social/political/economic climates.