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I think I emotionally flatlined

Somewhere along the way I seem to have lost my sympathy for other people's pain. Not my empathy, that I got loads of. More so I cannot seem to tolerate complaining or whining about any sort of mild to moderate pain in others. I should not compare other people's pain to my own, because it is not a contest or a game or even a measurable scale in which to read one person's suffering over anothers. Yet I cannot seem to stop myself from doing it. I hear someone with some minor complaint, even a long enduring minor complaint, and I listen and nod and make some general sympathetic remark. Most of which is false, because while I empathize and often feel the same or worse, I do not think it is productive to announce it. That in fact on my best day I am not doing so hot, but I still do all the things I need to do and none of the things I want to do. I think of what I need to endure because that is the way it is, and all the meds I need to just function at that minimal capacity, all on those rare good days... and I just cannot muster any real sympathy. So while I can relate, I can empathize, I just don't see the need to discus it or sympathize when I am in the same boat or wishing I were. I do empathize when someone is working with a migraine, because without the right meds, their pain and cognitive impairments are a great deal higher than a 4... no matter the frequency. But I would have little sympathy, for example, if someone was constantly voicing complaints about chronic headaches... I can empathize, since chronic anything sucks, but the pain level is mild and the chronic nature ensures that person would have a baseline functioning level, which would mean it would be like someone complaining about normality. Hmm, today I feel the same level of crappiness I felt yesterday.

While I do not want to contribute to the isolation I know comes with chronic complaints and health problems, nor do I feel the need to express sympathy for it. Because that sort of conversation would mean openly expressing my own pain in order to relate to theirs and I do my damndest to mask my everyday state with a fine facade. I do not use my illness as an excuse for anything work related, because that would be admitting it affects me. I seem to expect the same from others. I expect others with chronic illness would also want to minimize its effects and try and maintain a facade on good days and laugh away the pain. I may hate it when people do not understand why I have so many doctors appointments and too many sick days... I know they cannot comprehend, so don't bother trying, I just do my best which sadly is not going to please everyone... frankly every day I manage to get out of bed is a roaring success to me. But when I am work, no matter how rotten, I do my job. I may be chronically ill, but rest assured no one hears about me being chronically ill. (with the exception of anyone reading this blog, which by you definitely get a load full of it)

I get the need for some people to express their discomfort, pain or ill feeling in order to have people know or hear them because otherwise they would think they are 'fine'. I do understand that. Sometimes I think people think I am 'fine' when I get to work and get my job done, without understanding the lengths I go to to do so, and all the drugs it takes to do so, and how no matter how many meds the pain is there. No one gives you a reward for making in to work, only notices when you don't. So I get the need to express the feeling that, yes, I am at work, but by the way i feel like crap. I just long ago learned that no one really cares to hear how crappy you feel on a daily basis. Obviously people sympathize when you cannot keep the facade up and look like you feel like crap, just as I sympathize when someone else is in that state. Obviously though when it is a chronic ailment, even I do not want to hear about it all the time. I don't even want to hear myself complain all the time. I think it is because I am just in that hazy state of numbness knowing i am barely managing to achieve that functioning state on a daily basis. I could worry that I will not be able to, I could be trying hard to prevent that, but been there done that and am just drained of all desire to make the attempt. Just kind of holding on and hoping I will hit that spot of balance between pain and medication. If my own precarious state does not faze me, then is it really surprising I cannot muster up some honest sympathy for others? I should, because I know very well that when you are chronically ill that balance is rarely achieved and never maintained... you are always struggling to keep up and absolutely nothing will cure you... sometimes you win the battle, sometimes you don't. Hell, we should all shout out at the top of our lungs when we make it into work. 'Victory is mine! Today I won the battle!'

Certainly it seems like everyone notices when you lose the battle, but do not grasp that it is war and there are so very, very many battles. Yeah, I get the desire to express that. I just don't actually express it. I have that long held fear of being labelled a chronic complainer, so I tend to minimize complaints, which has done nothing good for me, but also makes me tend to do the same with others... I acknowledge their battle, but try not to show too much attention to it, as though they too don't want to make a big deal about it but cannot avoid mentioning it from time to time. It is called emotional distancing, emotional avoidance, emotional numbness. So, no, it is not a contest. We are each in our own war, dealing with our daily battle whether we voice it or not, whether we complain or not, whether our facade holds or not.

Maybe I cannot understand the need to voice it, but I get the battle. Right now I am on the losing end of that battle, so I am wearing a little thin on sympathy, and any emotions really. You know when you get to that state where it is just you and the pain, and what you need to do in order to get up in the morning and get through the day so you can get back home as soon as possible. Everything becomes surreal and it is just you and the battle. If you pause to reflect for a moment you could just burst into tears, so better not to think, just get it done, work through the pain and earn yourself some rest to get through it the next day, counting the days till the weekend...
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