There are times you get a glimpse.Just for a moment you get to see..how far you've come,and how far you've yet to go.
Support groups are wonderful. There are people around you that know and understand what you're going through. You can relax, let your guard down and know that the vulnerability that you feel is in a safe place.
Most of us still have those pesky walls in place. It's easier to keep the guard up. You really don't want to admit when the pain and fatigue are at their worst how weak and powerless you really feel.
"I'm hanging in there.""I've been better.""I'm still smiling."Yeah, right.
Every once in awhile someone who is newly diagnosed and still struggling comes in and exposes that raw emotion that we try so hard to keep under wraps. While it's wonderful to help and counsel someone, it's a stark reminder of what is bubbling just underneath that carefully crafted surface.
As I'm telling someone that they will find their purpose through all of this and that joy is possible, I realize how far I've come since first being diagnosed. Helping someone find their way out of the black hole and knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel is gratifying.
But it's not that simple.
There are still days that raw emotion still haunts me. I know that I still struggle with the loss of the job that I loved. There is still a part of me that identifies with my career. The mourning process, while not as bad as it was, is still there. While those feelings aren't front and center anymore I still have them.
There is nothing easy about chronic illness. It's like there is a constant reminder that your body could betray you at any moment. I feel always on guard, ever vigilant and ever mindful that a new symptom can pop up at any moment. It's a fine line that you walk...I want to be aware but I don't want to be overly cautious.
The walls that are constructed so that the world doesn't see your weakness also protect you against it. Maybe they need to be there so that you are able to progress, grow and keep the helplessness that chronic pain can bring at bay. I think that masks and walls are sometimes given a bad rap.
Seeing that person struggle with the newness of all of this brings a few issues right back home.
And I'm not inviting them for a sleepover.