Today was a better day than yesterday. For starters, I wasn’t in nearly as much pain, which was amazing. I really can’t overstate how much of a game changer that is.
(As an aside…how people who suffer with chronic pain issues do it, day after day after day? Going to work. Taking care of families. Having friends and hobbies. I have respect for them in a way I didn’t before all of this. It is so hard to try to be positive or do anything, when walking and sitting feels like knives…and I know my pain is a drop. in. the. bucket.)
I also think my improved mood has to do with this blog. Yesterday, when I hit “publish” on my first blog in over a year, I announced, “Guess what? 2021 is the actual worst, and this is why.” I felt liberated just naming the hurt in black and white and putting it out there, even if it’s never read. For the past ten months, I’ve been keeping this terrible secret about how I feel and why. Trying to ignore the grief of this experience that is not what I wanted. But now, I don’t have to keep the secret anymore. It’s not a burden I have to conceal. It’s out there. It’s named.
I hadn’t really expected that–the release, the relief of no longer being the Secret Bearer. (Though now that I’ve written that sentence, I have an image of some sort of bizarre medical/professional Frodo, which is inexplicably funny to me. A Ring that can make you disappear–even an evil ring–is way cooler than a fistula, by the way). I don’t know what I expected when I clicked that “publish” button…I wasn’t expecting to feel so much lighter, that’s for sure. But the weight that has been lifted, which I guess is one way of figuring out it was there in the first place.
And that is something worth holding onto when all of this is over: there is power in verbalizing and naming the Secret–the diagnosis, the issue with work, the fractured relationship, whatever. Putting it in words and making it public in some way–telling someone, writing it somewhere and passing it on–that’s significant. Life-changing, even.
Naming the Secret is taking back power. Now, my struggle isn’t a Secret. It’s just a plain old fact, like the fact that the days are getting shorter or the sky is blue. My Secret is something real: it’s a fistula and a crappy time at work. That’s it. It’s no longer some giant, amorphous monster or a mist that I was blowing out of proportion. It is strange how something can make you feel like you’ve got a seven ton elephant on your back while at the exact same time make you feel like it’s probably imaginary and you’re being irrational and making it up.
So, I feel like I need to pass this on. If you are a Secret Bearer right now, I’m here to tell you you don’t have to be. Find someone you trust. (Or start a blog people don’t read because you post too infrequently–haha!). But do it. You can do it. Voice the fear. State the fact. Take back the power.
Name the Secret.