April 4, 2013

Just Another Day

Drama masks found here.

As any good Sickie knows, there are times we just aren't doing well.  Times when we're run down, experiencing increased symptoms, and may be having heightened disease activity.  These times are unpleasant and, especially as an activist, I spend a lot of time and effort trying to convey just how severe these bouts can be.

Among ourselves, we often discuss the way our society encourages us to suppress this reality.  We're supposed to put on a smile like the face on the left even when our bodies and souls feel like the face on the right.  If asked "how are you?", any answer other than "fine" is considered impolite.  Naturally, this adds to the feelings of isolation we tend to have and can an even contribute to the phenomenon where those with invisible illnesses begin to question their own sanity - and sickness.  It is necessary for us to have ways to explain what we go through that resonate with "the outside world".  This is why diagnoses are so important - a name, given by a doctor, means it's real, right?  Medications and treatments are only given for "real" problems, of course, and having unified terms for hard-to-describe symptoms, such as flares, help us unite ourselves as well as demonstrate the validity of our experiences to others.  And this is important.

On the other hand, at the same time that we are trying to validate ourselves, we also have a singular reality to deal with - we are sick.  Every day.  Not always to the same degree, and affected by a myriad of factors, but still "sick".  And if we were to get worked up every time we hurt, are weary, or experience some other common symptom, we would eventually cease to function altogether.  And so we develop our own sense of scale; our own perceptions of what's worthy of some emphasis and what's par for our own course.  We simply do not want to live in a constant state of drama - it's bad for us and it can suggest to outsiders that we are drama mavens rather than reasonable people going through unreasonable challenges.

But these two facets - validating the severity of our situations and moderating our own daily sense of peril - can come into direct conflict.  After all, it's rather hard not to sound dramatic when the word for a burst of illness is called a flare, don't you think?

Yet another reality, one I discovered while trying to write a laid back-sounding email requesting information so I could reduce my stress and avoid making myself sick.  Oh bother, one battle at a time, I suppose.  I think I'll channel Eeyore while I head off to bed and leave the problem of refining the English language to someone more qualified.  Good night!!

I'm considering having this made into a sign for my bedroom door .  In the meantime, you can see the original site, here.

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