Several times lately, people have said to me, “When I see you, you don’t look or seem like you are having pain.” I say, “Good!” Sometimes I follow up to share how much energy I expend so that no one does. That is my goal.
I leave the house as if I am well and I go out into the world to share smiles and to be a bright spot in as many lives as I can.
When I was thinking about this later, I stopped and said, “Wait! What the heck is a person in pain supposed to look or seem like?”
Is there some socially appropriate way to convey it, look it, act it? Is there a preconceived idea of what a person in pain must look like?
Am I doing it all wrong?
I don’t know any of the answers to these questions, although it would be interesting to do some research and to hear your ideas in the comments.
I am pretty sure if I am doing it all wrong that I am not interested in conforming to whatever might be the “right” idea of how a person in pain should look and seem.
Here is what I know about my pain:
- I have it, blah blah blah.
- I would rather not make you uncomfortable by wearing a neon T-shirt that broadcasts it.
- I already know it makes you feel helpless to know it.
- I experience it 24/7, so I don’t necessarily want to talk about it all the time.
- It makes me happy to hear, “You don’t look or act like you are in pain” or, “Well, you look good” because that means I am pulling it off!
We’ve already established in previous blogs that my methods to manage my life with chronic pain aren’t always effective. I can own that. There is not a handbook, unfortunately, but I am sure there is no right or wrong way to “look” or “seem” when I am in pain.