Friday, September 2, 2011

Is rage really the way to deal with disbelief of "invisible disease"?

I had planned on blogging about my acupuncture experience yesterday. Unfortunately some painful emotional issues have unexpectedly popped up in my life today.

And I don't know how to express what happened and how I feel about it.

I've been stewing about the whole thing for over 7 hours now and I'm still not sure what to say.  At the same time I know its a huge issue that I need to talk about not just for myself but for everyone with an "invisible disease".

---Two hours later and I'm still not sure how to write about how I'm feeling...

Okay, so I'll start with what happened to me.

The short version is that during an already dicey discussion with a family member that I hadn't spoken to in months (and before that over a year) he suddenly said, and I quote, "You need to stop whining to your parents about your health." Everything he said after that gets a little fuzzy but the rest of his advice included the following phrases that are hopefully not forever seared into my memory:
  • "stop acting like a child"
  • "we're all getting older deal with it like an adult"
  • "stop feeling sorry for yourself"
  • "keep your (my) arthritis off facebook because everyone is getting old" (This was interesting because after 3 years he's never accepted my friend request so he must be spying on me through his wife's facebook profile.)
  • Etc., etc., etc....
I wonder if he knows about my blog.  I doubt it because that would have only escalated my "whining" to a whole new level for him to complain about.

For those of you who know me, you might have an idea as to my reaction.  For those of you who don't let me tell you how it went down for me.  I was at first immensely hurt. I'm unfortunately an extremely sensitive person (I hear there is an term for people like me called HSP, but that's another blog post). Then the hurt was replaced with disbelief that someone from my family could not only say those things to me but actually believe that I'm... I'm what---making this up? exaggerating?  looking for sympathy?  Here is where my wonderful heritage comes into play as my disbelief was replaced with shear rage.

A cute and PG version of me earlier today.
I'm a fiercely passionate and stubborn chick and have been since birth. I'm told it's genetic from our mother's side and if you know my mom you will undoubtedly agree.  I have three beautiful, intelligent and wonderfully passionate and stubborn young men.  I'm on my second marriage.  I'm going to be 43 this winter.  I've lived through more than my share of battles and I've learned over the years that remaining calm and in control is more beneficial to everyone in the long run.  I've grown to realize that there really is never an appropriate reason to let out my "inner demon" with the exception, of course, of fighting for my life or the lives of those I love.  I've been a good Fire Sign as of late and I don't think I've even let that creature (completely) out of her cave since my early to mid 30's. 

Today she came out in full force, dressed to kill and she was well rested.


I'm not necessarily proud of my reaction.  Part of me does wish I could have calmly and compassionately explained the entire situation to him.  Oh! Wait a minute--- actually I did try that route but he interrupted me to tell me that his arthritis and high blood pressure was all part of getting old and as he was more mature than I, he kept it all to himself like adults are supposed to.

I'm sure that's what finally set me off.  His comparing my multiple doctor diagnoses of sero-negative auto-immune disease (blood negative rheumatoid arthritis), ankylosing spondylitis and fibromyalgia to his lower back pain from driving a dozer for twenty years and obviously self inflicted high blood pressure from "being an adult" and keeping everything to himself. 

Should I have let my fiery she devil loose on him?  NO.
Should he have diminished my pain and illness? NO.

Nothing will change what happened to me and to our family today.  The sad and regrettable truth is that my own sibling doesn't believe that I have anything other than old age arthritis.   Nothing I can do or say will change his mind or make him believe me.  But what I really want is for him to love me, truly love and accept me for me... his little sister.