When I was younger, everything had to be “fine”. I had to use manners, make sure I did “not overstay my welcome”(whatever that means), and the most important of all to not tell what went on inside of my house. To this day the last message is very strong inside of my head.
When I had a mental illness, I could at least pretend for a few hours that I was ok. There was nothing on the outside of me to show that I was sick. Even when I was first in school, no one knew that I was mentally ill. Now I speak for NAMI and I hear stories of other people who try to keep their mental illnesses a secret.
Enter, one clinical day in nursing school when something triggered me. Needless to say, my cover was blown. At least, I was already in the program. I proved to others that over the next, year and a half that I could have a mental illness and take care of patients.
With the physical illness-fibromyalgia, arthritis, and who knows what else, the cracks are quick to show. Leg braces, a cane, a handicapped tag. These have become signs to the rest of the world that I am not like everyone else.
Sure, normal has a broad range of definitions. We have all faced challenges. deaths of loved ones, loses of things that were dear to us. To lose the ability to walk, to take my kids out for a day without the consequence of not being able to get out of bed the next day-these are things that I just cannot seem to wrap my head around.
So, the image is cracking that I have tried to put up. Who knows what the new image will look like. I have kept going and am in the process of trying to figure out what to do for a career now that my body is not as functional as it used to be.
Maybe the cracks are good. At least now, I am being honest with myself an admitting that I do have an illness!