I don’t know how you felt when you saw my post The Heart of the Battle the day before yesterday. A few commented that my haiku in the post expressed extreme sadnes. I looked again and believe it’s a tired resignation – this is just how it is living with invisible conditions.
You see, invisible dis-ease and conditions have a layer to them that visible illness and conditions don’t. I can’t SEE anything wrong with me and I begin to believe that maybe everything is all right. Perhaps I’m imagining the symptoms, exaggerating the symptoms. Perhaps I am even causing the symptoms.
How I look and how I feel are not congruent.
About 10 years before I was symptomatic a woman
was referred to me in her late 50’s – I was in my early 40’s. She comes to the first session with all her medical records. Without exaggeration, it’s a foot thick. She’s seen doctor after doctor, been to renowned medical centers, had evaluations by teams of doctors at teaching universities, undergone test after test after test and no one can find evidence there’s one thing wrong. Referrals to psychiatrists pile up.
She was desperate for help. Her panic that no one believed her was palpable. I’m not sure I believed her either. How could anyone have so many things wrong with them, from headaches to gastrointestinal, from heart palpitations to joint pain and have every test be negative. She looked fine. I too was unable to help her.
I’m now in my late 60’s. I have clients today who are extremely disabled by their invisible conditions. They too are desperate for help, for relief. I sometimes catch myself minimizing their pain or disability. They look good, are smart, funny, intuitive. How they look and how they feel are not congruent. Just like me.
My white flag of surrender? There is nothing I can do, nothing I can say. So I sit, listen and believe them with my heart, if not with my eyes.