On the one hand, I have come to terms with my illness in many ways. I am working with my body rather than fighting against it. I am learning to listen to what I need and to adjust expectations appropriately. I know that I cannot do some of the things other 27-year-old people can do. I know that if I pull from energy reserves, I will pay for it later. I know that taking things slow is best.
I know all of these things and I know that none of these limitations or changed expectations make me lesser or worse than other people of my age. I know that. And yet, I struggle a lot.
I don't want to listen to my body when it says to stay in bed instead of going outside for a walk. I don't want to acknowledge that going on that hike with my partner and my dog was probably a bad idea. I don't want to feel the pains in my hands in 15 minutes from writing this blog post because I forgot my finger splints at home today and I can feel each finger hyperextend as the finger meets the keys of my keyboard.
And yet something even more difficult than knowing all of these things and acknowledging this struggle is to accept that my Invisible Illness is becoming more and more visible. While my illness doesn't show on my face or skin, it isn't something people will see and question, my cane is. The braces that I wear more and more regularly are. My medical ID bracelet, pretty as it is, is visible.
I am having a hard time letting this illness become visible.
I don't want this illness to become visible.
Because a part of me feels that, if it's not visible, then maybe it isn't real...
Maybe, if it isn't visible if others don't see it, there's a chance for me to avoid it...
I know that isn't possible. I know that I have this. But when others couldn't see it, I could say it wasn't that bad or I could let the doubt keep the knowing from feeling like a whole truth.
Now that it's being seen more and more, I don't know what I know.