Every day I get up several hours before I need to leave the house to allow myself enough time to get ready. Most of the time is not a good pain day, per se, because in over two years now, I have not had any good days. On my better days I try to enjoy my time and feeling like a normal person for a while, because most days I barely have the strength to shower. I used to love styling my hair and putting on makeup but now even brushing my hair causes tingling, numbness and pain.
Occasionally I get complimented for how good I look and at times told I look healthier than I have in a while. Although I am so thankful to get compliments from my peers and family, remarks about what I look like tend to be hard for me to take at times, especially when I am struggling to smile in the midst of pain.
I find it so challenging to balance a positive approach to coping with my condition at the risk that people think I am feeling better when I am actually feeling worse. How do I portray a realistic image that every day I am in pain, and every day I am struggling, without letting this condition define me and while continuing to do things I love?
Coping with a silent condition is challenging because it is so misunderstood in our world today. Pain is silent but can be debilitating. It is difficult enough to be in pain and feel like I have lost most everything I used to be able to do. You add to that the anxiety that comes from knowing people do not understand your pain or limitations and that can lead me into a dark place where fear takes over the positivity I fight so hard to maintain.
I think the biggest problem is that people see me at my best or “picture ready”, but what is not seen is the amount of pain I am in at the moment and the pain I endure after. Makeup and a smile goes a long way and might make me look like I have it all together, when inside I may feel like my nerves and muscles are spasming and the pain is so bad that I just want to be home but actually what I really want most is to be back to who I was before the accident.
I have decided to share my journey, and I will continue to share the good days and the bad ones. My life might be challenging at times, but a pretty dress and a little bit of makeup with a smile reminds me I am still me, that the rambunctious and outgoing self I miss so much is still in there. She is not gone forever, she is just being molded and refined and will come out of this better than she was. I will hold my head high like a warrior and step forward into each day knowing the pain will still be there, but it cannot steal my joy! #Cervicalspine #Spondylothesis #ChronicPain