I sit here searching for the words to describe what it is like living with a “hidden illness”. For those with Fibromyalgia/Polyarthralgia/Chronic Pain Disorder/etc., you know how frustrating it is to look healthy on the outside….when your insides are screaming, your muscles are revolting, your body spasms, the throbbing intense pains, the knives being pierced randomly throughout your limbs….
This picture from this morning brought inspiration! No one questions that the moon exists….we see it even out of place….as this morning…its bright reflection in the early morning light….
The moon is usually “hidden” during the day….yet we do not give it a second thought! We know that it is there….that we expect to see some phase during the nighttime hours. We delight in the brilliant brightness of a full moon! We oooh and aaaah when we are allowed to view a lunar eclipse!
Our “hidden” illness/conditions are just like that moon that is normally unseen during the day. No thought is given to the normal day to day….except on those mornings when it is “out of place”….in the morning sky.
I do not look like someone that is “out of place”…..just as most of us with these conditions…..yet….if you paused for a moment you would might notice:
My husband or son pushing me in a wheelchair;
My awkward leg movements as I lean heavily on the arm gently guiding me to a chair;
The strange flexing and twisting of the wrists and fingers (as if this will relieve the pain);
The fact that I continue to move or shift my feet, legs, head….with only short pauses;
The distant look in my eyes (if you look quick enough!) as I allow my mind to take a momentary break from the pain that is wracking my body;
My slurred speech…..mispronounced words…..incorrect words that bring laughter to our son;
Fidgeting while either attempting to stand or while sitting;
Fumbling awkwardly to try to get my wallet out of my purse…..followed by the enormous amount of time it takes to get payment out of my purse to the cashier.
All of these are outward signs…..these are the “glimpses” into my….into our world!
My body may be on fire….the stabbing pains intensely attacking my arms and legs….ice picks being run through my hands and fingers…..the spasms in my back and legs…..the shards of glass slicing into my feet…..the bugs crawling under my skin…..the choking and sickening pain of the weight of my clothes……
You will not see these things….instead you will see me smile….you will see me interacting with my husband and son….
I do not allow the overwhelming struggle that is within to rear its head when in public…..I allow the heavy sighs and the closed eyes only when alone….
For all the effort and energy to just make it through the day….is more than words can describe…..it is like holding an enormous weight overhead….not being allowed to take a break or rest…..
Yet…even in rest there is no peace….the symptoms continue….day and night…..it is just at night….our dreams can sometimes take us away for a short time!