What We Hide from Ourselves

DepressionThe amazing responses I received yesterday on my post “Fibromyalgia’s Invisible Face” has had me thinking today about what else do we hide.  We put on a happy face and do our best to hide the amount of pain we’re in.  We hide our emotions. If you’re anything like me, hiding those negative emotions from others often means you also hide them from yourself.

I was only diagnosed with fibromyalgia last fall.  I’ve suffered from nonstop chronic pain for nearly 5 years.  I suffered from bouts of chronic pain related to my TMJ disorder off and on since I was 15.  Pain has been a part of my life for a long time.  I haven’t always accepted it though.  For a long time, I ignored it under the premise that if I ignored it long enough it would go away.

To get through the days, I would throw up a wall in my mind to block out all the pain signals coming from my neck down.  The wall went up when I got to work in the morning. The wall blocked more than just the pain, it blocked any signal my body would send me.  If I wasn’t sitting in a weird position that was causing extra pain, I couldn’t feel it.  I wouldn’t feel that I was hungry, so I frequently forgot to eat lunch. Each day, that wall would come crashing down as soon as I got in my car to drive home.  A wall of pain would wash over me and sweep me away for the rest of the night.  All I was capable was laying in bed with an ice pack on my head and a heating pad on my neck or back.  My weekends were spent trying to rest up for the work week ahead.  I wasn’t getting restful sleep.  My energy just kept dropping and the pain kept increasing.  It got so bad that I wasn’t able to throw that wall up anymore.  I lost that ability.

I also hide my emotions from myself and those around me.  Only at my worst did I really allow myself to even think about just how low I was.  I told my husband I was in pain, but not how bad it was.  I didn’t want him to worry.  I told my family I was not at my healthiest, but withheld the details of what I was going through.  I don’t know if I was trying to protect them or protect myself.  I wouldn’t admit, even when asked, just how bad the pain was every day.  To say “I hurt all over” and “My head is pounding” to the same people day after day just sounds like whining to me.  I don’t want to whine or sound like I’m wanting.  I’m tough and want to be seen that way.

I hide things from myself. I refused to acknowledge that things were harder for me now.  That I couldn’t run anymore because it hurt too badly, that I could only walk.  That producing a good product at work (I’m in marketing) was tougher and I had to think harder thanks to the fibro fog.  That my energy was nonexistent.  I would just push myself harder, make myself keep going at my old pace no matter what the cost was to my mind and body.  I just kept going and the damage I did to myself kept rising, until it all fell apart.

I can’t hide from myself anymore.  I find it harder to hide things from others.  People may not see the face of fibromyalgia when they look at me, but they don’t see the energetic, over-achieving, determined person either.  I’m just me now.  And fibromyalgia is a part of me.  It’s one of the faces I show the world now, whether those looking back at me choose to see it is up to them.  Fibromyalgia is an accepted part of me now.  I hate it, but I accept that this is  my lot in life.  My job now is to find out how to make the best of it.

What do you hide from others, or even from yourself?  You may surprise yourself if you really stop and consider your answer.

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12 thoughts on “What We Hide from Ourselves

  1. staciegh says:

    I try to hide my pain, but I guess it shows on my face. Whenever I am feeling bad someone always ask me if I’m having a bad day. I’m not one to whine either!!

    • painfighter says:

      I’ve suffered from fibrous for longer than I’ve worked at my current job. Everyone is used to seeing me in my normal amount of pain I guess because I rarely get asked if I’m having a day.

  2. […] What We Hide from Ourselves (painfighter.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Reblogged this on chronicpainsurvivor and commented:
    A must read article on the effects of “Invisible Illnes”… Thank you Fighting Fibromyalgia, your words are sincerely appreciated by many.

  4. Tracy Rydzy, MSW, LSW says:

    I hide a lot. So much so that then when I say I’m in pain or having a hard time people block it out. Half the time my husband doesn’t even look up from his computer when, for instance tonight I said the nerves are so inflamed I can’t pee. I think people pretended to care but when u really show them the real you they don’t want to hear it

  5. rachelmeeks says:

    I found this entry very enlightening. When I go home, usually at night I’ll deign to take pain medicine, and usually I find myself suddenly hungry as well. I think that I, too, put up that wall where I don’t listen to my body at all. I do hurt while I’m at work, but I don’t do anything about it. I never tied that in to my strange ability to get through the first half of the day on just a hershy’s kiss. It all makes a lot more sense now…. thank you for your insight!

    • painfighter says:

      Thanks for you’re comment. I think chocolate is a fantastic medicine! You might try putting an alarm app on your phone to remind you to get up and move around every hour. I have started doing that because if my phone doesn’t remind me, I don’t move, and then I feel worse when I get home. Maybe that would help you some without having to take more pain meds. Good luck!

      • rachelmeeks says:

        I hadn’t thought about trying to walk around more. Instinct says that not moving is best, but doc says exercise helps, so it makes sense that not sitting still for too long would be good. Thanks for the tip!

      • painfighter says:

        All I want to do is lay in bed because the pain is so bad. Every day, I have to make myself get up and exercise after work. I have to push through the mental block and just get up and move. Even a walk up the block and back with my dog helps, if that’s all I can manage. I stretch multiple times a day at work. I’ll stretch in a store if I need to. Exercise really does help with the pain. I’ve done a post on yoga you might find interesting as well as working through the pain.

  6. Definitely agree with what you stated. Your explanation was certainly the easiest to understand about “What We Hide from Ourselves”.

  7. […] What We Hide from Ourselves (painfighter.wordpress.com) […]

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