How crazy does that sound?!? Probably not so crazy to someone who has a chronic illness or any invisible illness. Yesterday afternoon I caught whatever is going around: my daughter has been sick, my husband, and my dad….I was due. Most people are very miserable when they get sick and I am not saying that I am happy: I feel like hell, but once one has been through brain surgery and lived with chronic pain for fifteen plus years, a sinus infection just isn’t so rough. No one gets flowers for chronic pain right? We do, however get extra “aww I’m sorry you are sick” and extra help sometimes. Not so much when it comes to chronic pain. Its so ironic isn’t it. People want to help me so much because I have a cold! If they only realized how I feel on a daily basis but it is invisible and I am good at: fake it till you make it. Cannot hide my congestion, runny nose, puffy eyes, and coughing. So, people believe something if they can see it. Not so much when it comes to an invisible illness. Remember I will say it again, the most powerful three words to say to someone with any invisible illness is: I Believe You!
I went to a yoga class today. Certain yoga poses actually do truly help with congestion and headaches etc. I went more to get away and have someone else lead me through breathing exercises. Someone wrote to me recently that when she tries to do relaxation exercises she feels the pain more intensely. That used to be me. With chronic pain, our minds are so wired to think about our pain so much that when there is silence our brains scream: PAIN!!!!! Think about me! I avoided relaxation exercises because I too believed they made the pain worse. Evidence and science have proven me wrong and now experience has as well. If you want to practice meditation or relaxation exercises but find it too difficult to just sit and not think about your pain, start very slowly. Do three to five minutes a day. That is it. Anyone can do that. I did that for months and months until it became routine. Practice does not make perfect but it does make permanence. I now look forward to relaxation and breathing exercises and I am the most type A person you will ever meet. That is why I went to a yoga class today. I feel too crappy to exercise but I was able to manage a light yoga classes incorporating various poses to help me relax.
I am not thrilled to be sick by any means and cannot wait to feel better. I haven’t been sick for over a year and forgot how much it sucks. However, it is a hell of a lot easier for friends and family to understand a sinus infection then it is for them to understand chronic pain. It is the few days I do not have to fake it.