Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chronic Illness = Humor?

When I think about my chronic illnesses, I think humor.

Which is odd, as most of the time it is blood, sweat, and tears.  Many things that I used to consider integral to my life have been stolen from me.  Most people wouldn't find that situation funny.  Sometimes I don't find it funny - instead it feels like a downright tragedy.

The humor lies in the absurdity.  You start with one illness and invariably it leads to 10 illnesses.  Of course, none of these illnesses have cures.  It all becomes trial and error.  With the intake of every new drug, aspects of my personality change.  I've lost the sense of feeling grounded.  Every crazy side effect possible hits me with each new medication.  I am the purple zebra.

When I land in the hospital, I laugh.  I joke to my family and friends.  I can't bear to see them worry, so I put on a show.  At this point, it's as much a coping mechanism for myself as it is an act for saving the pain of others.  I know my family sees through it, as my nurses and psychologist do too.  And yet I can't give it up.  If one can't laugh during such trying situations, the only alternative is to cry.  I'm tired of crying.  I have been for years.  

There are no other choices.

One has to play the hand they're dealt.  If people who are chronically ill were depressed ALL of the time, we'd never survive.  Most of us want to hang on for the people we love.




middle child said...

I use humor to deal with my emotional issues. My daughter-in-law has fibro and dysautonomia among other things. And now her son (my grandson) is exhibiting some of the same symptoms. My DIL is nearing the end of her rope. Their financial situation is hopeless. She waits for disability as does my son who has a brain tumor and after surgery has lost most of his vision and since about a third of the tumor still remains,...sorry. I only meant to comment that just today my DIL told me that she feels as though her life has been stollen from her. I pray for and understand. Kisses Ah ha ha. your word verification is....urfine. Ha! truth!

Sairs said...

Just letting you know I am reading. Hope you are okay. I know myself that the constant struggle with anything can wear you down. I think you're brave for being able to see the humour still, sometimes I can't get to that point and I just miserable. Thinking of you!

ZenMonkey said...

When people ask about my health and hear the latest litany of woes, I very often get "At least you've kept your sense of humor." I definitely have (we Jews are well used to humor as a coping mechanism!), and further, I'm glad it comes across. It sends a signal to the other person that jokes and silliness about my problems are okay, and that's really the way I prefer to deal with it. When possible. ;-)

Selena said...

Wow. I agree with everything you said. It is absurd. I can only play the hand I am dealt. If I can't laugh at my situation, I will be crying, too.

Very well said Annie.


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Peggy said...

After living with CFS now for over 18 years I hear ya...better to laugh than cry. I like your positive attitude.
As for the " Purple Zebra" I am one also. I do not do well with meds. I am starting to have high BP now and will probably go through the same thing there trying to find a med that works that does not mess me up in some way.
We have cried enough tears over our lost health, so why not, when we can just let it go!!

Anonymous said...

I will have the image of a purple zebra in my head for some time to come. I find you have to laugh, because, as you said, otherwise, it's tears. Here's to tears of laughter rather than pain.

Con said...

I'm a chronic pain sufferer and I use humor as a coping aid. As I'm hartly able to walk I'm often ordered to walk faster by my wife. Always with a grin.
I'm now in a wheelchair so I chamged my avatar from eend (duck) to roleend (rolling duck). In Dutch the normal word for rolling is rollend so I just swapped a l for an e. My avatar picture is now the Holland duck truck emblem. Something like the rubber duck from Convoy.
Ofcourse its not always fun but by using humor I opened the discussion with several people about coping woth a life full of pain

So keep joking