You’re in pain, you’re dealing with emotional issues, you’re falling apart, and you desperately want someone to help you but you haven’t asked anyone…how can they know? The luckiest of us have people in our lives that can read our facial expressions and know we’re not being honest about pain or distress, but even they sometimes need an explanation.
Do you think that your partner, family, friends, colleagues, can read your mind? Can you read theirs?
For some bizarre reason, I’d never thought about this until a few months ago; I assumed my boyfriend (who is an absolute diamond) knew I was having a bad day, or my hip was flaring, or I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry for the rest of my life, without me saying a word. I just supposed he could access the deepest, darkest parts of my mind, my pain receptors, and understand why I was irritable and biting his head off for absolutely no reason.
I shut-down when I’m in a lot of pain, I want to be on my own and I’m angry. I’m angry at myself, my body, my life, everyone around me. I’m angry if someone speaks to me when I don’t want to be spoken to; I’m angry because nobody understands how it feels and I’m angry because I’m isolated. During these periods, I withdraw, I lose contact with people, I give one word answers, I cancel plans, and I sometimes feel like everyone that I’m pushing away should know why it’s happening. But how can they? I’m not taking all the blame, friendship is a two-way street and people lose touch; but my true friends – they’re with me until the end. My best friend will happily listen to me rant about my shitty chronic life for hours or he’ll not even ask about it and we’ll spend an hour laughing at something random we’ve watched on TV. And sometimes, that’s exactly what I need. Sometimes, when I’m stuck in a rut of self-loathing, self-pity, rage pain, I don’t even want to think about it, let alone talk about it. I’m grateful for all those who love me and put up with my drama.
I take for granted how difficult it must be for my loved ones to hear that I want to give up, that I can’t take it any more. How frustrating and heartbreaking must it be for them to watch someone they care about suffer so much and not be able to do anything. I don’t give them enough credit for looking after me despite my irritability. I’m not angry with them, I love them, I’m just fed up. And I should tell them more. I should ask for help. I should learn to accept help.
I think my main problem is that I don’t like pain to dominate conversations. Yes, it’s a huge part of my life but it’s boring and repetitive to continually say, ‘my back hurts’, ‘I have a migraine’, ‘I’m shattered.’ Surely, they know. I’m in pain everyday. The people in our lives are aware of our condition/s and it’s much easier to say, ‘look, I’m having a bad day today,’ than losing your temper over the slightest thing because you’ve not communicated properly. Just because they ‘know’ you’re in pain, doesn’t mean they know how much. They can’t read your mind.
I’m getting better at asking for help, it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s not stripping away my independence, it’s a way of coping with my condition. The sooner I accept that, the better it will be. The more I tell my loved ones that I need them, that I’m struggling, that I open up, the easier it will be to maintain strong relationships.
No matter what you’re dealing with, nobody knows what you’re thinking, communication is vital.
Thank you for reading this and thanks for the ongoing support.