My father had a terrible temper. He was known for it all around town. But he was also known as a fun loving guy, fun to be around, would do anything for a friend. But there was that temper.
I inherited his great sense of humor. I love to laugh. But I also inherited his temper. So did my sister. I’ve always been a hot head. Short fuse. Easily irritated. But at the same time, in my own defense, I’ve usually been a person who can get over things quickly. Not one to hold a grudge for very long. Once it’s over, it’s over. No big deal.
Now that I’m 58 years old, and have carried chronic pain around in this body for 31 of those 58 years, I begin to look back over my life and I wonder…..has chronic pain made me a bitch? Have all these years of feeling like total shit created in me a monster?
Okay, maybe not a monster, but a person with an even shorter fuse? A person with bitterness and anger? Someone who finds fault in others? Someone who points out other people’s weaknesses? Someone who is still mad because she got the smaller piece of pie?
I often look at the past years of my life and wonder what I would have been like, had fibromyalgia and other health issues not come and barged in on my life. I wonder, would I have been more patient? Would I have been less judgmental, less harsh, more compassionate? Or would I still have been still lashing out at the world, trying to cover and protect my still-raw wounds from even more damage by continually constructing the “wall” inside myself?
Although I try not to, I consider myself a victim. Even though I tend to look down on weakness in other people, expecting them all to buck up and be strong like me….I still see myself as a victim in this world. If I were to be honest, I would realize, many of us are victims of this world….damaged somehow, by something. Struggling against the tide. Trying to heal from unseen wounds that keep getting opened by the difficulties of life.
I was in my middle 20’s when I first began having health issues. It went from Graves hyperthyroidism, to endometriosis, to fibromyalgia. Then later came diabetes, eye problems, intense tendinitis in my feet, osteoarthritis, and many other issues. Latest one is Sjogrens disease.
I look back over the years and wonder…..what would my psyche have been like if I hadn’t been hit with so many health problems, one after another after another? Would I have had anger issues like I do now? Would my temperament be more gentle? Would I still have my faith in God intact?
In this day and age of internet social networking, you can meet new friends in a matter of minutes. Develop friendships over the course of weeks, months, years. But at the same time, if someone says or does something you don’t like, you can simply press the delete button and that person disappears from your life as if they’d never existed. Sometimes the finality of a relationship is all in the press of a key on your keyboard. Poof. Never to return.
I am my own harshest judge. I see the flaws in me and I hate them. I hate myself for some of the things that I do. In my defense, I am tired of being in pain, tired of being tired and tired of seeing my body get even worse as I age. But that is no excuse to lash out. No excuse to treat others with harshness or disdain. I wish I knew how to reign it all in and not allow my own pain make me a person who brings pain to others.
I really do feel that the past 31 years has turned me into a bitch. I try hard not to be one, but I feel that most of the time, I fail miserably. Not only the pain itself, but all that came with the pain has affected me …..the dealing with doctors, some of which were unbelievably cruel, patronizing, mean. The medications, which all have side effects that have made me feel lousy. The stigma of having chronic pain, when so many don’t understand it. Don’t get it. Can’t figure out why I can walk through the mall one day, but be in bed all day the next. And on, and on.
Would I have been a bitch if chronic illness not invaded my life? Not sure. But yeah, I believe it has made me a bitch after 31 years. Unfortunately, yes….I do. And I don’t know how not to be one. I try hard every day but I always end up hating myself when I get in bed at night.
There is so much more to chronic illness than physical pain.