I am a hypochondriac. I am a malingerer. I am a wuss. I am weak. I am always sick. I am always whining about pain. I can’t cope with life. I have a delicate disposition. I suck at life. I don’t try hard enough. I am lame. I am a worry wart. I am a basket case. I am a complainer. I am always resting. I don’t work hard enough. I am a bad mother. I am a bad wife. I am a bad daughter. I am a bad friend. I am a flake. I am always overthinking things. I make mountains out of molehills. I am difficult. I am an excuse maker. I am mercurial. I am emotional. I am too sensitive. I can’t take a joke.
No one needs to tell me these things. I know them. Or rather I believe them. I sit with these thoughts day in and day out. Sometimes they take up more space than others. Sometimes they take up all of the space.
I am doing my best. I am in pain. My brain hurts. My hair hurts. I can’t lift my head without a searing white hot poker of pain stabbing me through the eye. My joints are aching when still, and creaking unoiled bolts when in motion. My muscles are sore, and I try to remain still because movement causes them to zap me with electric current shocks through my body. My muscles are restless, so I must remain in constant motion, rocking, or cycling my feet, regardless of the shocks that spark with each movement. I need a handful of naproxen to manage the pain, but that will set off a round of bleeding that is difficult to staunch once it starts.
The cure or treatment for one aspect is always the catalyst for another. I choose not to suffer in silence, even if I worry that sharing these thoughts will drag more of my friends and family to believe about me the same things that I believe about myself. I choose not to remain quiet while the tuba player in my brain blasts sour notes at an increasing regularity in the hopes that if one person reads this and feels kinship or sees them self that they will feel less alone. They will know that they are not stigmatized. They will know that they are not the only ones who are not ok.
They will know that there are more of us who recognize themselves in Fannie Lou Hamer’s quote “[I am] sick and tired of being sick and tired.”