Some days, I wish I had a “tell” that would make things easier for me.
A tell is a poker term that describes a change in a person’s behavior or demeanor that gives clues to their hand.
Every day, I live with a disease that to the outside world, nobody sees. I have never been shy about telling people that I have MS, but I don’t think people realize what it is like for me most days.
I live with pain and fatigue and no one can see it.
I try to not show what is going on inside me; I don’t want anyone to pity me. Some days, though, I really could use a break. It gets overwhelming to put on a brave face.
There are times I just want to curl up in a ball and hide from it all. These are the days that people’s comments really get to me.
“You look fine. You don’t seem sick.”
That is probably the worst thing you can say to someone who is dealing with health issues. It equates to you saying if you look OK, there must not really be anything wrong with you. When I hear that, I just want to yell at them, “You weren’t there this morning when I was in tears because it hurt to get out of bed!”
Chronic pain is something you cannot describe. Your elevated level of pain becomes normal, and so you motor on with your day. Does that mean you don’t hurt? No, it just means you don’t have a choice.
I have always said that getting up and facing MS head on is what I have to do. The choice isn’t mine.
The other option would be to give up, and I can’t do that. I can’t give up. I have a husband, children and family who I am not willing to give any less than 100 percent to.
They have never given up on me and I will do the same for them.
I know I should give myself a break now and then, but it feels like admitting defeat. I fully embrace that is not always realistic, but I think a little denial sometimes goes a long way.
If I convince myself that I am doing OK and soldier on, I will eventually be able to cope with what I am facing. There is nothing quite like faking it until you make it!
So if you see that person who looks OK but you know is dealing with something bigger, realize that your normal and theirs are two vastly different things. This may be one of those days for them.
Kristi Davis is married with two sons. She blogs regularly for fruitamoms.com.