What do you disclose about illness

I wonder if this is something we could say to people to understand chronic illness. “The difference between you and me is that when you wake up, your nightmare ends.” Or does it sound too dramatic? Not dramatic enough?

I heard somewhere today that it is not a good thing to hide behind this facade that we have perfected so well. We smile to hide the pain. We say we are fine when we are not. This leads to isolation. Isolation leads to depression.

Rather it was suggested we be more upfront we how we feel to avoid this cycle. I am not sure about how upfront we can be. I have this fear of being labeled a chronic complainer or a hypochondriac. A long history of being ignored by doctors or their adamant disinterest in my symptoms has led me to be rather stoic. Would honesty be the best policy in all scenarios? I always feel some level of disclosure is good. Good for us and our loved ones. I just feel bluntly honest about the impact of this pain might be a little hard to take all the time.

Perhaps just something less intense. Perhaps something as simple as putting your pain level or fatigue level on a calendar in the kitchen so everyone knows where you are at. Without saying a thing you are telling them if it is a bad day or a good day. Tell them what a good day feels like and what you can typically accomplish. Tell them what a bad day feels like and you can typically accomplish. This seems to be a very open communication.

I think some of us are better at this than others. My dentist today even said I was stoic when he gave me my shots. I have to wonder how to people usually react? You know it is going to hurt. But only for a second. Not a big freaking deal in my world. My jaw hurts like a bitch though from the fact I have TMJ and it took them a long time. But not much I can do about it. Such is life. I think I am very used to holding the pain in as to not affect others around me. It has become an ingrained habit with me. It would be difficult to break. Been at this pain game a very long time.

On the outside I smile for you. So you do not see the pain I suffer. So I can pretend to function.

What do you think? Use your pain facade? Go for full disclosure? Or the more practical approach of in the middle, which makes far more sense to me.


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