One of the great things about new visitors to your blog, especially ones that take a moment to write a comment, is the opportunity to discover new blogs and websites. I recently found a few which brought up a few issues I have dealt with myself. But You Don’t Look Sick and The ICI Experience both refer to dealing with something that is invisible to everyone else. While I don’t like to dwell on or discuss my health challenges too much, I do appreciate how much it means to talk to someone who knows from their own experience what you are going through. It can be such a relief when most people find it difficult to understand what they can’t see, in terms of both comprehension and empathy.
When you have a broken arm, there is a cast which clearly identifies a painful injury that limits your physical abilities. There is no judgment or confusion, just generally compassion and an instinct to be of assistance to the person. When your pain is totally invisible you have to explain why you aren’t able to do a physical task, deal with the person’s confusion about your condition and sometimes their dismissal. Since I have been doing so much better I am fortunate to live with the positive side of the invisibility most of the time. I can go through my life being treated as a “normal” unlike someone in a wheelchair or with a visible physical aspect to their condition. However, when I have a flair up, I can be quickly reminded of what it was like for so many years. I have taken handshakes and other friendly touch interactions for granted and it took a painful arm to remember what it was like to fear those moments and not want to have to explain why I was pulling away.
In Sickness and In Health brings up the fact that I haven’t been alone in my experience, my husband has been going through it with me. The same and yet separate journeys. For us it began just before we got married and after over 12 years finally having a more normal life has had its own challenges. Some family members have been supportive, especially my mother, but my husband’s life was taken over by what happened as much as mine was. Barbara K’s comment on one of my posts about dancing brings me back to the how important music and dance are to me. As she said, to “be completely in my body, with joy.” When I first went to college, I studied music and dance and being able to return to these at this time in my life are a special pleasure. I do hope to get my husband out for a dance one day too!