Hiding behind a smile
Chronic issues leave us overwhelmed in many ways. When we initially experience the onset of symptoms there’s a rush to figure out what’s going on and how to fix them. After months and months of dealing with the stress, exhaustion, and fear of not feeling well, we begin to lose hope.
Initially, we may find ourselves openly sharing our feelings with family and close friends. However, as long periods of time passes, we tend to go silent and inward.
Many of us don’t want to sound like a hypochondriac. Many of us don’t want to worry our loved ones. Many of us don’t want people to see us as weak (even though we are some of the strongest people around!). Many of us don’t want to admit (out loud) how scary it is. Many of us don’t want to bring attention to ourselves and how our lives are changing because of our health issues.
There’s a lot that goes on inside that even those closes to us may not fully understand or know about.
Chronic issues tend to move through cycles of high symptom activity and calmer dormancy. We have our own emotional cycles that we move through as well. There are five stages that we can cycle through over and over again: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
If you are smiling even when you are scared, overwhelmed, anger or any other negative emotion, know that there are many others, myself included, that do the same.