Chronic illness is difficult on its own, but the invisibility of EDS is just enough to throw me over the edge sometimes. I have always hated telling people how I feel. My default answer is, “I’m fine.” I know that a lot of people reading this, chronic illness or not, probably relate to this. Having a chronic illness has challenged me to start voicing some of my emotions and feelings to help those around me better understand what I go through. But every time I explain that I’m not feeling well, there is inevitably that one person who says, “Oh, get well soon!” The comment is meant to be encouragement, but lately every time I hear this I am reminded that I won’t get well soon.
I will continue to deal with the chronic pain, the migraines, the dislocations/subluxations, the nausea, and everything else that comes with EDS. Most of my fellow spoonies (refer back to Hogwarts Mystery if this reference doesn’t make sense) can understand this.
But, and just hear me out, what if ‘get well soon’ is one of the most positive ways we can look at our chronic illness? Now, I’m not saying that when we tell someone we have a chronic illness, and they respond with “get well soon” we should be thankful that they gave us a new perspective on our chronic illness. But, 9/10 times if I have to leave an event, or cancel plans, it is due to a flare up of symptoms and not my normal level of symptoms. The other day, I was working at church. I ended up with a bad migraine, my left knee was subluxed, and I was incredibly nauseous, so I left early. But my joints sublux frequently, I am always nauseous, and I frequently deal with pain. However, this subluxation was bad, my nausea was worse, and a migraine is more pain than I usually deal with. It was a flare. And, the truth is, I will get over a flare. My pain might not diminish completely, but it will go down when the flare passes. Get well soon, even if it’s not the wellness we desire for our lives, is one of the most positive outlooks we can have on our flare up days.
While I haven’t always been appreciative of the people who tell me to get well soon, I do think that I will try to change my perspective on this. There are a lot of people who don’t understand this disorder. But, they will never understand our disorder if we don’t try to be understanding when they fall short.
“So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.” – John 16:22
This is a very hopeful verse for this post, and I think it ties into the theme of get well soon. Jesus is talking to the disciples about what will happen after he leaves, and the persecution they will face. It is a passage that reminds me the best is still ahead of me. Often, living with chronic pain and EDS makes me feel like the best years of my life are already behind me. I once lived without any of the EDS symptoms that I now have daily, and I know those symptoms aren’t going away. I think most people who live with a chronic illness feel this way at times.
But, Jesus promises that one day we will rejoice. We are promised that there will be a day without pain or suffering. We will get well, and Jesus promises that it will be soon. Regardless of the pain we face in this life, as long as we have faith there is something better ahead of us without any suffering. I think it is important to remember that chronic illness won’t last forever as long as we keep our eyes set on our redeemer and healer.
Joy. by For King & Country
“Oh, hear my prayer tonight, I’m singing to the sky,
Give me strength to raise my voice, let me testify.
Oh, hear my prayer tonight, ’cause this is do or die.
The time has come to make a choice,
And I choose joy!”