It's OK to Cry and Feel Sad About Your Pain
Sometimes, you find yourself unable to catch your breath. Sobs wrack your body and there’s a deep, empty hole that feels like it’s slowly eating away at your insides. You are exhausted by the everyday act of living and you have stayed strong for too long.
We all do it, and it’s OK. I would even say it’s good for us to break down every now and then. Living with chronic pain and illness is exhausting. We expend a ton of energy just functioning every single day. The pain we are in zaps everything from us as we will ourselves to push through it. Then, there’s the emotional exhaustion of the accompanying depression, anxiety, the lack of support systems, disappointing doctor appointments and so on. Many of us are fatigued to begin with, without adding in any extra factors.
I had one of these days yesterday. Apart from my regular discomfort and fatigue from my conditions, I appear to have caught some sort of viral infection. My throat felt like it had been sanded down and my temperature was much higher than it had been in a long while for me. I had spent months holding in all of my frustrations about being chronically ill. I felt as if everyone had been sick of hearing about me being sick, so I had decided to pretty much shut up and internalize all of it.
Upon waking up and feeling so drastically worse than usual, which is hugely
upsetting for anyone chronically ill, I found myself acting incredibly cranky
towards my husband. I recognized that I was acting harsh, but at the moment I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why. I brushed it off through the morning but the guilt over how I was acting continued to rack up. Finally, I ended up locking myself in my room to avoid any further negative commentary towards my confused husband. After allowing me to decompress for a moment, my husband and daughter opened the door tentatively to see if I was OK.
I had already begun crying as I had started running the reasons through my head of why I was truly upset. My husband asked me to talk to him about what was going on, but for several minutes I failed to find the words. Once it came out, it all really came out. I find myself explaining between enormous sobs and sucking in big breaths that I was just simply so exhausted. I wake up every day in pain, I can’t enjoy eating without hurting, I am so tired every day, and I dread leaving the house because of my symptoms. I go through countless, and very often invasive, types of tests often only to be told the doctors are still just as confused as before. I’m called the “walking pharmacy” and even crashed my pharmacist’s computer in attempts to pull up my medication list. These medications either don’t work or have such terrible side effects that I can’t function on them.
And my biggest concern of all is not being able to be an active mother for my
children. I don’t know how many times I have had to tell my children lately, “I’m sorry, I can’t take you to do that because mommy is sick.” Honestly, I’m
waiting for the day that my oldest finally says, “Mom, you’re always sick!” Not
to mention, every time the kids and I leave the house, or if I leave while my husband watches them, they ask, “Do you have to go to the doctor again, Mom?” I carry a lot of guilt from my role as a mother who is chronically ill, and it takes a serious toll on me that I haven’t talked to many people about.
Once I got all of this blurted out and apologized profusely to my husband for my previous attitude, he simply held me as I finished my crying. Once I had calmed, he explained that he wished I would talk to him about this stuff more because he had no idea I was feeling this bad. But most importantly, he reminded me that it’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to grieve for the things I can’t do and the healthy person I used to be, so long as I don’t let the grief overtake me forever. Sometimes, what we need is to cry and acknowledge our struggles for a moment. Then, we brush ourselves off and continue to be “chronically fabulous.”
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