Pain, Actually?

cane

  • I feel pretty good today. I can clean the entire house in one go, right?
  • I doubt I need to bring my cane with me today.
  • Maybe I can hold down a traditional job outside the home.
  • Am I actually disabled?

Periodically, I go through bouts of skepticism in regards to my disability. It’s skepticism born of guilt, frustration, doubt, stubbornness, and sometimes self-pity. Sometimes it’s internal skepticism influenced by external skepticism. There is stigma attached to disability in general. When your disability is the result of an invisible illness, that stigma is magnified. It’s very easy to internalize all of that and start questioning yourself and your own body. I go through different jobs in my head, and it becomes apparent, again, that I cannot carry out the duties these jobs entail. I end up frustrated, angry, and full of self-pity. I come out of the housework gate hard and fast, determined to make the house spotless and clean. I am determined to prove to myself, to everyone, that I am not useless. Not even halfway through, I hit a wall-no, crash into a wall. My strength is drained. My pain is so intense, that I’m queasy, and I’m frustrated, angry, and full of self-pity. In the end, I cause myself more pain-emotional as well as physical.

I guess the point is acceptance and recognizing that having limits is perfectly fine. The smart and healthy thing to do is to respect those limits.

  • Whether or not I feel awful or fantastic, no, I can’t clean the entire house in one go.
  • Whether or not I need it at the moment, I should probably have my cane on hand–just in case.
  • No, I can’t hold down a traditional job outside the home, and that in no way diminishes my value as a person.
  • Yes, I am actually disabled.

Simple acceptance would be more productive than being at constant war with myself and my circumstances.

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