I think one of the hardest parts of dealing with chronic pain is the fact that I can’t talk about it like I would like. People get tired of hearing about it. I don’t blame them. If I heard someone say ” I hurt” everyday for years, I’d get sick of it to. There is just so much you can say in response.
So I find myself keeping it bottled up to make it easier for everyone. Especially with my father.
Not to go into detail or anything, but there were a few years in my life when we did not speak to each other. After my mother died, my dad sort of lost it. He made some bad choices and he really really hurt his kids.
Now all of that is in the past now. He has asked for forgiveness. I have forgiven him. We have a fairly strong relationship now and he is there for me whenever he can be.
Now though, he has gotten it into his head that me being sick is somehow his fault. He has read alot about how trauma and stress may trigger chronic illness in some people. I have read about it alot, and I find it very interesting. It is something I’d like to read more about. But there is no way I can blame my father for my being sick. But that is the way my father is. He is a very hard man to explain. He somehow borders between being very rational and very superstitious and religious.
After my mom died, he honestly thought it was his fault because he had stopped going to church. So now that I’m sick, he somehow thinks he caused it.
To be honest, I find it a bit self centered of him.
Long story short, I try not to complain too much around him. He takes it too personally.
It is not just him though, I just hate the way I sound when I talk about it. I sound like a hypochondriac. I mean, its so damned redundant. ” I hurt. I’m miserable. I feel like death.” Those phrases are as common as “Hello. Good morning. How are you?”
I have a friend who was genuinely offended once. I asked if we could stop and get some bottled water before we left town so I could take my meds. His response was ” Oh, don’t do that. Why would you talk about it? Are you trying to get me to feel sorry for you?” I don’t think I have ever been so hurt. You could tell it was something he had tried to keep back and finally had to say. And that’s how he thought of me. And I’m sure he isn’t the only one. And it’s so ridiculous.
Why would I talk about it? Because it is the single biggest thing in my life. Because I don’t go ten minutes without thinking about it. Because I always hurt. Because people treat me differently. I am someone with R.A. It’s in everything I do. It affects everything. It influences all my decisions. I feel it in every single step I take! How the hell do I not think about it?! You tell me how I should feel. And I will gladly try to feel it.
But of course I did not say those things. I calmly explained to him that if I did not take my pain meds before we got to the movies, I literally would not be able to walk into the theatre. I told him that I thought since he was my close friend, that I could talk to him when I had problems. He didn’t say anything in response. And this was from one of my closest friends.
It’s just very isolating. No one can understand this unless they’ve lived through it.
So its almost turned into this taboo subject you should not mention. The giant purple elephant in the room. For the good of the whole, keep it to yourself so the rest of the world can be less uncomfortable with their inability to help.