Chronically POTSitive

I am a minimizer.

If you look this up in the dictionary you won’t find a definition, but a minimizer is someone who diminishes their feelings in order to make others comfortable or happy.

Something I minimize just about every single day is how I am feeling. In PT I sometimes feel dizzy, but I don’t say anything unless I am worried that I’m close to fainting. I don’t like to complain or for people to be worried about me — even if it’s a totally normal thing for them. When people ask how I am doing, I always reply with, “I’m doing well, thanks! How are you?” even when it’s not true. I’m often stiff and in pain, but I rarely call attention to my it even in my closest relationships because I don’t want to feel like a broken record. It’s annoying enough having the pain every day, but not dealing with it and having to hear about it all the time would really be a nuisance.

When I say I’m in pain I feel like most people can’t understand what that means because although they may have been in pain for a short time, they haven’t had to deal with chronic pain. Chronic pain is such a draining cycle and isn’t like just breaking a bone or stubbing your toe. An injury typically has an end date to the pain. Even if it hurts intensely at the time, you know your life is going to go back to normal at some point. Chronic pain doesn’t typically look bad either, since people can’t see the way my body is malfunctioning. With a broken bone you can sometimes see the disturbing crack in the body and imagine how terrible the person must feel, but with an illness there usually isn’t much the average person can see that indicates anything is wrong with you.

Chronic pain doesn’t have the hope of getting significantly better in any certain time period. When you’ve spent years spent hurting — ranging anywhere from mild to intense — it’s disheartening. You are trapped in a viscous cycle that starts with pain which moves to the inability to get a good night’s sleep that makes healing tough, and the inability to do normal activities or do little things for yourself. I get on and off frustrated with some of the independence I’ve lost, and some days are harder than others. I’m trapped in a 6 mile radius near my home unless I can get a ride further out, but I miss being able to explore the world on my own.

I don’t always ask for help when I need it because I want to be independent and I want everyone I love to be able to enjoy their day without focusing on me. I hate being the center of attention, so I try to wait until something hurts or I am moderately concerned about my well-being to say anything.

Writing is the only place I feel like I can be completely honest, because it’s an easy outlet. My brain knows exactly what to tell my hands, and it goes on autopilot until the page is filled with words that I feel. Overall I’m actually really happy with my life. I’m blessed to be an optimist, and I won’t ever lose hope that one day I’ll be better. I can find the best in most situations, and I’ve already been able to see some about how my own pain can be used for good to help others. I have an incredible family, the best boyfriend I could choose for myself, sweet friends who are more than willing to be accommodating to my new high maintenance life (Even after 4 years it still feels new), and more adorable puppies and dogs than I know what to do with. What I lack in health is easily made up with in the abundance of love I have in my life.

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Hair, makeup, and (impromptu) photo credit: Audrey Denison

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