A searing pain of illness is the pain of seeing sadness or helplessness in the eyes of those who love you.
You can try hiding your pain. That’s a lot of work, though. You risk your body language unwittingly sending signals that you feel angry when, in fact, you’re not angry at all…you’re just hurting. You risk their seeing right through your mask and feeling hurt that you don’t trust them with your pain. If you’re successful at hiding your pain, you spare them some sadness while depriving them of opportunities to comfort you and help when they can. In other words, successfully hiding pain closes opportunities to express love.
You can apologize for causing them sadness. The problem with that is you didn’t do anything wrong. Your illness—not YOU—caused them pain, an illness you didn’t choose and would wish away, if you could.
Or, you can see their love and feel their love. You can let that love motivate you to talk about the illness and learn healthy ways to deal with the pain. You can let that love highlight all the little joys untouched by pain. You can thank them for loving you the way they do…and you can keep loving them right back.
Healthy Survivors know that there are times when hiding your pain is the most loving gift you could give at the moment. They also know that, most times, not hiding your pain is a gift of love.
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