"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

It's alright to have an "It's not fair" moment

by - Monday, June 10, 2013

Those of us living with chronic illness and pain know how important it is to 'focus on the positives' and have 'an attitude of grattidue'. We hear it all the time. We read about it, we write about and we talk about it. We're experts at making chocolate cake from lemons. When you're diagnosed with a chronic illness you learn pretty quickly that in order to survive and thrive, you cannot constantly dwell on the unfairness of it all.
However, just as it's necessary to adopt a positive outlook, it's also healthy to acknowledge that chronic illness damn well sucks. No one should have to suffer and live in constant pain. Yet, we're often confronted by do-gooders telling us "It could be worse;" an annoying, ignorant and insensitive platitude. Saying "At least you don't have cancer" is one that really gets my goat. Telling us that we could have it much worse when we're in need of some comfort, support and understanding is a kick in the guts. It's like telling a depressed person to cheer up and just get over it, and many of us dealing with chronic pain on a daily basis are depressed.
It's no wonder that those of us with chronic illness feel guilty for having a bad day. It is not hard to see why we beat ourselves up for having an "It's not fair moment."
There is power in getting along side somebody and agreeing that their hardships suck and aren't fair. I know I feel better after hearing "That sucks, it must be really hard, I think you're doing a great job." Just because someone else has it seemingly worse doesn't mean that they are not suffering and hurting too.
Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for perspective. I'm not saying that we don't sometimes need an encouraging reminder to stop and smell the roses. There are many times when I spare a thought for those suffering more than me, and I am incredibly thankful that things aren't worse, but there are those times when you just want to scream: "IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!"
Heck, I've had a lot of these moments lately.
{now this is wisdom}
A couple of weeks ago I decided to try wearing my social butterfly wings again, and boy did I physically suffer for it. I spent days feeling extra unwell. I was green with envy that others were oozing with energy and could just get up the following day and function perfectly. So many "It's not fair" thoughts swarmed around in my head. It's not fair that I can't have much of a social life. It's not fair that when I do go out and enjoy myself, I pay for it. It's not fair that when I need to meet new people and make friends the most, I can't.
It was just the other day when I came home from an appointment feeling sorry for myself. I was frustrated and the hope tank was verging on empty. Since January I've been having problems with constant teeth pain and headaches. I just thought I had a sinus infection, yet here I am in June still struggling to manage the pain. After six weeks on antibiotics and a clear CT scan, the pain was just put down to migraines and I was put on a new drug. This new drug took the edge off the pain but unfortunately exacerbated the fatigue, and made me depressed and anxious. A couple of months ago this drug stopped working as effectively, so my doctor decided that it was best to try and double my dose. I only lasted one day. It was just too hard.
Now, my doctor wants me to go back to the dentist (even though I had dental problems ruled out five months ago) for a second opinion to see what they suggest I do now. I stuffed my face with chocolate in the unfairness of it all. It's not fair that I still don't have any answers. It's not fair that I keep getting loaded up on drugs that have just as debilitating side effects. It's not fair that I'm expected to function like this. Why have I all of a sudden developed a constant headache and teeth pain? The problems I had were already enough to deal with. Why me? Why now? Why, why, why, why?
{Damn right kiddo, damn right.}

When you're going through a tough time it's alright to have an "It's not fair moment," to think or say,"Why did this have to happen to me?" - It's human nature. Chronic illness is hard. Really, really hard. It stinks like elephant poo. It just isn't fair. It's not wrong to be down in the dumps about it. It's okay to have a cry about it. It's okay to not be okay. It's okay to vent every now and then. Write out everything in a journal or blog post and don't edit your feelings. It's okay to have bad days. It's okay to feel negative and hopeless- just as long as you don't stay there.
It's a positive thing to talk about your pain. It's a positive thing to purge yourself of the "It's not fair" feelings instead of stuffing them down and pretending that everything's just peachy. Give yourself permission to say "It's just not fair" once in a while. Chronic illness sucks, and no one should be shamed for saying so.

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