Lets Talk about #TheUnmentionables of Chronic Illness 2: Personal Care

ashower

On a Monday morning during a flare up I’m sitting at the edge of my bed, already knowing it will take me way too long to get dressed, brush my teeth and do something (anything) with my hair. I sit and agonize over the decision whether or not I need a shower.

The thoughts running through my head read like something from a movie starring a mentally ill individual in a creepy mental home constantly talking to herself.

‘I need a shower, I know I do….But I don’t smell its fine..,.fine I tell you. Hmm I don’t know about that one! Well if I shower I’ll need to climb into the bath, shampoo, condition, comb my hair, get dried…Oh God I see what you mean I am already exhausted…’ 

See what I mean. Don’t get me wrong we shower, us chronically ill are not smelly lazy BO wearing troglodytes. We have dignity and pride.

We also brush our teeth even though for me this hurts my wrists immensely most days never mind the agony during a flare up. We comb our hair even though it may take the best part of an hour and it’s not kinking the knots out that is the most painful I can assure you.

We shave our legs and under our arms (I am a girl so no need to shave the face…yet anyways :p)  We paint our nails and put on our faces. We conform to all the societal norms but not all the time. 

Each of these tasks take so much time. Some days I don’t care if I have hairy legs or slightly greasy hair. My face is clean, my teeth are brushed and the smell of me won’t knock a horse dead. That’s all I care about.

I might not wear makeup some days because it takes too much energy or all the twisting and twirling of brushes leaves my hands in bits. Some days I skip a shower as it means I have energy to get to work.

So perhaps you think I am disgusting because I don’t shower every single day. Maybe you think I don’t care about my appearance because I don’t wear make up every day.  I don’t comb my hair every day and I am not always as hairless as a Siamese cat…but here’s the thing; I’m not normal. I deal with a chronic illness and never ending pain every day.

So next time you see someone without perfectly shiny hair or pristine make up perhaps take a second to think about what else is going on in their lives.

All is never what it seems.

What are your embarrassing confessions about being chronically Ill? What are the #Unmentionables to you?

 

 

 

 

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Let’s talk about the The Unmentionables of Chronic Illness ; The Bathroom Trip. #unmentionables

drunk-student-falls-asleep-in-club-toilet-and-gets-locked-in-for-eight-hours

After spending 10 minutes trying to ensure I have successfully locked the cubicle door, I awkwardly pull down my tights and I let out a little cry as I plonk myself on the toilet seat.

This thing we all do daily, as simple as going to the bathroom can be a struggle for me. It sounds ridiculous but it is the smallest of things that can be the most difficult in my daily life. As my hands hurt it is such a huge effort to do something we all need to do numerous times a day. The whole thing during a flare up can be an ordeal. Trying to lock the bathroom or cubicle door to removing tights, jeans or whatever clothing you are wearing from trying to turn on taps and redress yourself and don’t even get me started on trying to re -open the door.

I have literally been locked in public bathrooms because after the whole ordeal of a trip to the bathroom my hands won’t function enough to open the door. Sometimes it can be quite embarrassing when I’m at a social function and I disappear to the bathroom for maybe a half hour at a time (who knows what they think I’m at), simply because I’m locked in.

Nobody has any idea how difficult this is for me, why would they? It’s not like we talk about our toilet activity with anyone. It is a completely private moment and for the most part it should be. However this ‘unmentionable‘ is a real struggle for me.

A healthy person doesn’t even consider this, they need to pee they walk to the loo , do what they need to do and go back to life. I on the other hand spend time agonizing over do I really need to go…and if so how badly, especially during a flare up and most especially in public places. (As the locks are the worst!)

The best way to explain to someone without RA what it is like for those few minutes of life every day is try to imagine a time you were so drunk you barley knew your own name. You make your way to the bathroom, locking the bathroom door just seems like it should be a task in the game show ‘The Cube’. Then you stubble around the cubicle like a baby calf trying to undress and when you are done you need a nap on the toilet seat because the effort of all that was exhausting. And now you have to somehow manage to muster up the energy to get re dressed, get yourself out of the bathroom, turn on a tap that is as stiff as a porn stars ding dong and get your hands washed. By the time you leave the bathroom you pray it’s time to go home because you can hear your pj’s calling you.

Well for me it’s kind of like that every time I make a bathroom trip. Except I am not drunk, I am in pain. Why am I telling you this? I suppose I feel it is time we start talking about what life with a chronic illness is REALLY like. Why it is so different to that of a healthy person. The struggles we go through that no one really sees or knows about.

It’s not like when people ask you how arthritis affects your life you can say ‘Well actually wiping my ass hurts now so that’s new!‘.  Arthritis or chronic illness sucks and can make you feel like  life is exhausting. The most exhausting part of it though can be trying to justify why you do the things you do the way you do. So let’s talk about The Unmentionables. The things no one talks about. The things like going to the bathroom being a pain in the ass and not the way one might think :p

 

Have you found toilet trips difficult? What other daily tasks do you struggle with that the others in your life have no idea? I would love to know.

If you liked this piece I would love to hear from you, or you can contact me on Facebook where I share some funny memes, inspirational quotes and any tips I have on dealing with my chronic illness. 🙂