Autoimmune conditions, Chronic Illness, chronic pain conditions, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, fibromyalgia, Hashimoto's disease, Interstitial Cystitis, invisible illness, Ulcerative Colitis

Why I say, “I am fine.”, when I am actually not

Chronic pain comes with its own ups and downs. A struggle hard to explain others and then there is this constant urge to get better. You start making these coping mechanisms and strategies to deal with it. With time, slowly you start accepting your pain (takes months to years) depending on how you are dealing with it socially. As the time passes you start understanding your body and your pain patterns. You slowly start accepting and living with it. Sounds easy while typing this, but, it’s a long long journey filled with  a lot of experiences, struggles and stories.

The toughest task of all is when an acquaintance or a colleague or a family member comes up to you and says, “Hello, How are you doing?”. And your usual answer is , “I am doing good/fine.”

Let me explain you what this statement actually means , “I am in pain, but, I don’t need to tell you that.”

Seems like you are lying. Well, it’s a very harmless lie and 90% times I use it.

  1. It makes the coping mechanism easier. Sometimes it is easier to not talk about the pain and just cope with it. It is easier to hide the pain and smile or laugh about it. Because at the end you just want to get through the day. Thinking about the pain, the numerous symptoms and the body changes 24×7 will just make it tough for you to cope with it. You don’t want to stress yourself.
  2. You just don’t have the energy to explain. It’s already tough dealing with an invisible pain nobody can see or feel except you and above that you have to explain it to somebody every time you have a pain flare up. It just makes the job tough. Every pain flare up is not the same. Sometimes the burning pain sensation is in the hand or the leg or the whole body. Sometimes, there is pain and a sudden swelling. Its already exhausting dealing with it and then you explain each of it to someone. I don’t have the energy. I just don’t!
  3. You are having a good day and you don’t want to jinx it. There are these beautiful days usually warm summer days when your pain levels are low. It’s there but you can manage with it and you feel productive. You want to just have a nice satisfactory day without jinxing it with any negative thought.
  4. You just lie. The pain is so exhausting already, you are screaming inside. All you want is your space and nobody bothering you with anything at all.
  5. You hate the “why?”.When you come across this question from a person and you feel their tone rude, curious, impulsive. Its just not worth it. RUN AWAY!

I know this might sound a little rude, or may be an escape. But, It actually isn’t. This is just a little lie you keep on saying to maintain your mental peace.

The real people who need to know,

How are you doing?

They are your family (mother, father, brother , sister, spouse, etc) who care and are going to stay with you long down the line. Your doctors need to know how you are doing, because they ll be the one helping you with the coping.

Don’t lie to yourself. Ever!

Pain is just too exhausting and it does tear you apart. If it is tearing you apart and you are still lying to yourself. Just stop right away. There is no shame in accepting and asking for help. We all need it at some point of time. Share it with your family, friend or your doctor. Don’t hesitate. Because these people won’t judge you, they are here to help you.

To the rest of the world, just lie if it keeps you at ease.

If I missed something and you want to add to it. Please do respond. May be I haven’t come across it yet, but you have. May be you have better way to hide your pain and move ahead. Please share.

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