Lately I have been thinking a lot about how chronically ill people say things like “when I do this my body…” or “my body does…”. It is like we separate ourselves from our bodies.
Our bodies are the things that are sick and constantly failing us, and we are the bright and cheerful person that is trying to life life to it’s fullest.
I think it is a coping mechanism. It is a lot easier to think that my body is the thing that is sick and always in pain, and I am just the person trying to deal with it. This way I don’t get mad at myself when I can’t do something because I don’t feel well. It is my body that failed me, not me.
Explaining this to people who don’t have a chronic illness can be hard. I have found that if they are around you for long enough they start to adopt that terminology as well. Most of my friends now ask me how my body is feeling, rather than how I am feeling, because most of the time they aren’t the same. I am constantly telling them the next symptom that hit me and ending with a simple “my body is weird.”
It is harder when you have an invisible illness. When I feel sick I look fine. Some days I wished I turned purple or something when I didn’t feel well. That way people wouldn’t have to ask how I felt, and I wouldn’t contently be trying to explain how much pain I am in. Other days I am glad that what I feel isn’t reflected in my appearance. I can go to class feeling horrible and not draw attention. I can go to work and interact with people and not get asked over and over if I am alright. It is a blessing and a curse.
Don’t let someone try to define your pain for you. If you have a headache and need to curl up in the dark, don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be that bad. Only you know your pain and what it takes to make it better.