It is not that they cannot handle the truth so much as they do not want the whole truth. They want the story version we tell to make people feel comfortable. A little struggle in there. How we cope. Maybe some treatment in there. Viola the chronic illness life. Not. Quite.
The truth. The whole truth. Has a lot we leave out. Like some days the pain gets the best of us and we wish we could just lay down and never get up. Or our anger and frustrations we face with our limitations. Or the endless guilt we feel being unable to do what we feel we should do. Even discussing the stigma we face is often something we do not discuss all the time. There are many facets of our story, the darker aspects, the more complicated day to day aspects, the grind of the day to day pain… that we tend not to reveal because it makes people uncomfortable.
They are uncomfortable because if they love us, there is nothing they can do to stop the pain and suffering and that makes them feel horrible. We don’t want them to feel worse, so we water down what we say. It is uncomfortable to friends because if you told them the raw, blunt truth, they would not know what to say back. They would be at a loss of words because they have nothing that compares or relates to that. It is easier to keep it simple, direct and easier for them to understand. So they feel they understand what you go through and feel they can support you.
And hell. for me, let’s face it I am not about to be telling people the straight-up raw, brutal truth. It is hard for me to admit to the toll pain and illness has on me out loud. Like it makes it so much more real by saying it. Admitting to it just seems weak. It makes me emotional and upset when I think of the impact and try and explain it. And I tend to like to keep the buried in me where I can mask it and not think about it.