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Health is not skin deep

July 6, 2011

There is a huge difference between looking healthy and feeling healthy. I’ve hid symptoms for years, there are some that I’m still hiding. “You’re looking so much better though”, I hear. Being able to walk again on my own doesn’t mean I feel normal again. I went shopping last night with a friend. It was cool out, so I wasn’t shaking, stumbling, or slurring. I drove. I drank a cup of coffee without spilling it all over myself. I looked fine, but I did not feel alright.

I got lost in a department store. We split up to look at different things a few aisles apart. I knew she was in the toys section. I forgot what I went to look for. I started scanning the shelves looking for hints at what I wanted to find. I got distracted, finding the wrong hints and looking for something completely different. I never found what I was looking for because I completely forgot what I was looking for. I went back to find her, and I had no idea how to get to where she was. She was just a few aisles over, but I couldn’t place myself. I knew where I had to go, what that area looked like, but I could not figure out where in the store I was. I was in the south portion of the store. I thought I was in the northwest portion of the store. I went to text her to find out where she was, maybe I’d hear her ringtone and I could follow it back to her. I always carry my phone in my pocket, but last night for some reason I put it in my purse instead and left my purse in the shopping cart, which she had. “Ok, it’s not busy in here, I’ll just look for long blonde hair”. I couldn’t remember what she was wearing, but she’s almost always had long blonde hair. After wandering around the same aisles over and over again she found me. Her hair was short. It’s been short for quite some time now. I forgot that she cut it.

She came grochery shopping with me. I always go to the same store, but I couldn’t remember where certain items that I buy almost everytime I do grocheries were. I would look down to look at a shelf, and my head would tickle. My headache would get worse. My ears would start to ring. I would be walking through the store and suddenly feel like I was being stabbed with hot pins.

When driving to her house, I kept changing lanes over and over because I would forget constantly that I was picking her up across the street from her apartment, not at her apartment. Again, I knew where I had to go but I couldn’t quite place myself. I would find a hint, a familiar house, a streetsign for a street I couldn’t remember the name of and I knew I was going in the right direction. This happened on the way to the MS specialist. I could picture the hospital, where it was, the name of the street it was on, but I could not remember the turn off until I saw the sign, despite having spent my fair share of time in that area.

I can still see, but the world is full of smog now. It’s like constantly looking through a pane of dirty glass. Everything has a fog around it. The further away it is the thicker the fog is.

Last night when I got home, I made my to-do list for today, and got ready for bed. I went to the bathroom, had a hard time with it as usual. I have to press on my stomach and push down as hard as I can to empty my bladder. I still can’t tell I have to go until my bladder is completely full. I was too tired to press on my stomach last night. I finished up, brushed my teeth, and went around the house clothing the curtains and such. When I got into my bedroom and changed into my PJs, I realized that I should have spent a little bit of energy on pressing on my stomach. My bladder didn’t empty completely…until I was walking around the house. I have no idea when exactly it happened, I didn’t feel a thing. If I had gone to bed in what I was wearing I never would have noticed. How long has this been going on without me noticing? I hide symptoms from some people, my body is not supposed to hide symptoms from me. It really is out of my control now. How am I supposed to deal with things on my own if I don’t know they’re happening? I was exhausted but I ended up staying up for a few hours in bed crying because of the loss of control. I need to stop hiding things, I need help.

Please don’t tell me “but you look healthy” or “you’re looking so much better now!” I do not feel better, I feel different. Just because you can’t see the problem, does not mean it does not exist. There is still a lot going on that I have to try to handle and when you tell me that I look healthy or normal, I feel horrible if I don’t hide what I’m feeling. Everyone seems to happy to tell you how much better you are looking, the guilt of telling that that no, you’re not feeling healthy again is crushing. Especially when those people are close, like family. My mother is constantly telling me “but you look better now” if I mention anything, like a headache or tingling. It stops me dead in my tracks. I don’t want to hide these things from her, but I don’t want to depress her. She seems so happy thinking that I’m doing so much better now, I don’t want to rob her of that happiness.

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From → Journal

One Comment
  1. Well said. I hate people assuming I’m fine because I look fine. The grocery store scenario was like a page out of my life’s story….and the driving….. I get so frustrated when my brain misfires and can’t connect the dots and I hate it when this is happeneing and people just look at me like I’m stupid (because, well, I don’t look retarded).
    My mom always says “how are you feeling?” every fucking time she sees me which make me feel like an invalid and if I’m doing ANYTHING other than sitting she’s constantly asking if I’m ok…..so theress that side of things. I think I prefer my dad’s approach of just not talking about it but listening when I say I need something (like the volume off on the TV if he wants to talk)

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