As you know, pain, at times significant and relentless, has been a part of my life due to a degenerative chronic disease since the age of 16.
There is no known cure and for many years, treatment was ineffective resulting in visible disfigurement (what the medical community likes to call deformities), weak and unstable joints, and often the most challenging; hidden impairments, i.e., pain, fatigue, and organ damage.
Being young and having rheumatoid arthritis — that old person’s disease and in the beginning having little “visible proof” of it, people felt compelled to offer their thoughts.
But the bottom line was often I felt judged. I wasn’t trying hard enough. I didn’t pray enough. I wasn’t worthy which always led to — I wasn’t good enough.
Over the past few days, I have been learning about my aunt’s grandson and his struggle since age 3 with mental anguish due to childhood abuse and later addiction. Nothing visible I would have seen passing him on the street but substantial mental (hidden) pain over the years – definitely, a kindred spirit.
We who are living life as survivors have practiced our surface behaviors — a way to cover life’s hurts, disappointments and insecurities. Some days we cover better than others, some days we are of good cheer and help others with their struggles. Then there are some days when pain is so great, we count the seconds as they go by; we must seek the light and look to our dearest for love and belonging, support and love.
I am finding renewed strength in my cousin’s caring written word. A new perspective on pain; perhaps you might want to look it over: