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?