I’ve always found it a rewarding challenge to attempt to write from the perspective of someone who has experienced something I never have. When I nail it, I feel as if this brings me closer to a group of people I might not have identified with before. Conversely, if I screw it up, I open myself up to all kinds of criticism and vitriol, mainly consisting of comments like “You have no idea what you’re talking about” and “You don’t understand me at all.”
Nevertheless, I stubbornly press on, hoping to at least get a better understanding of people dealing with things I might not have. For instance, I have never been stricken with chronic pain or a chronic illness, but I believe I may have received a tiny, minuscule glimpse over the course of the past week into what it would be like to deal with one of these conditions.
As I wrote last week, I have been struggling for the past several days with some mystery ailment. I’ve had two strep tests and a flu test, and all three have come back negative. My throat, however, is still killing me today, despite two trips to the doctor and currently being on my third different medication. After lounging around the house and watching movies all day Saturday, I decided to rouse myself enough yesterday to help set up our new television. Everything was fine until about midday, when the pain in my throat and the weariness in my limbs began to return. I found myself in bed before 8 p.m., cold, sore, and perturbed.
It’s been a week of this now – feeling a little better, attempting to resume normal life, overdoing it, returning to sore throat, tiredness, and achiness. By the time I woke up this morning, I was in a fine foul mood, effectively embodying the old saying “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” I am never sick for this long, and I am not accustomed to having to rest this much. Not only has my body suffered, but my mood has as well.
Just from this extremely small sampling, I was offered a glimpse into why so many people who are stricken with long-term illnesses or difficult-to-rehabilitate injury. I have also had the unfortunate experience of knowing several people in these situations, although I did not always understand the psychological depth of what they were going through. I did not perceive the dark cloud their conditions were placing over them.
I think of all the people who wake up one morning feeling great and unable to move the next. I think of all the people ridiculed for being on disability who would much rather be working. I think of the people whose maladies have not even been diagnosed. Is it any wonder major depression is often linked to instances of illness or debilitation? One day you’re fine, the next you can’t even get out of bed. However, you remember all the things you could do. Your mind is telling you that you can still do them. Your body, though, is telling you a different story.
I don’t know if there really is any way to overcome this type of situation. There may always be that sense of loss. Maybe new realities can be forged, though, that will get this particular person back on their feet mentally, at least. I don’t know. I will (hopefully) be healed up by the end of the week, so I can’t speak accurately for someone who won’t be better not only by the end of the week, but possibly never again. I hope I at least came close here to depicting what they might be feeling. I suppose there will come a day in my life when I will find out for sure.