Sometimes it is easy to sit and make excuses to myself as to why I can’t do something, or why something isn’t important, both I believe are the two things that most chronically ill people do without even knowing it. At times it is the easiest thing to do, to just find an excuse to brush aside what we don’t want to do, we all do it, you, me, everyone, being ill or not doesn’t make any difference when it comes to telling ourselves the truth, we are all really bad at it. It is a million times easier to tell the truth to someone else, but when it comes to ourselves, somehow it is suddenly all right to tell great big lies, every now and then, or even all the time. I know and freely admit that when I was first diagnosed I started telling myself that I couldn’t do things that I think now I probably could have done without any danger, or ill effects, I stopped myself from doing things mainly out of fear, fear of the unknown. I can look back now and see just how much I miss out on, simply because I didn’t fully understand my illness and I was scared that if I went out that evening, or that if I started cleaning the house, I just wouldn’t have the energy to finish, or our night would be cut short spoiling it not just for me but for other. I started telling myself I couldn’t do things and I started believing it, something far worse than just thinking it.
That is the really daft thing, the more we lie to ourselves, we convince ourselves that it is fact and there is far less chance of anyone else being able to convince us we are wrong. I know now and I can now tell everyone that I was lying, not consciously, but because I was scared constantly of the outcome. At first my greatest fear was of falling in public, I had one occurrence that built that fear and left me scared to be anywhere were there were people I didn’t know. I was on my way home from work and as I was tired I thought I would take a taxi rather than two buses and a long walk, I was standing at the edge of the road and I flagged a cab coming towards me on the other side of the road, just as it swung round and stopped in front of me, instead of taking a step forward, I lost it and crashed to the ground. You might have expected the taxi driver to get out and come to my aid, but he just drove away leaving me there, clearly he thought I was drunk. One small idiot, but an idiot that fixed it in my head just what people thought, people who would assume that I was drunk with great ease, rather than thinking I might be ill, it was then that I started saying “I can’t”, when it came to being anywhere other than home or at work.
It wasn’t until I was given my wheelchair that I manage to get over that one, people see a chair and they don’t think the worst of you straight off, they at least give you a chance, most even go as far as treating you as an equal again. Unfortunately getting about in a wheelchair also has it’s ability to still say “I can’t”, but with a little more truth behind it as not everywhere is accessible, but that’s another post not this one. I know that I have stopped doing many things probably earlier than I really needed to, it only takes one bad experience to put you off trying any single activity again, were the truth probably is, it was just a bad day, you can do it tomorrow. The nasty truth behind all these lies, is they are all based in fear and they all stop us living a fuller life for that bit longer. I know longer have to even say to myself “I can’t”, once you reach where I am the lie is the opposite, you tell yourself you can, only to find yet again that you “can’t”.
My favourite lie these days is the “it’s not important” excuse, I use it all the time. I know that many will read what I write about how my health going down hill, or that I have new pain, or new symptoms and will be either silently shouting at me, or at the least wondering why I am not on the phone already to the doctor. I admit at times I sit and ask myself just that, should I not be talking to someone about this, isn’t it significant and important that I pass on these changes? But then that lie appears and I convince myself it isn’t important, simply because it keeps me out of the hands of the Doctors. The longer you are ill, the more time you have spent your life either being examined, tested or just prodded and poked at, the more you just don’t want to even talk to a doctor. Doctors become monsters and believe me you will put up with a hell of a lot, just to not have to talk to them. I don’t know where the point is that makes you eventually give in, I don’t know what it takes to make me pick up that phone, each time it has had it’s own individual trigger, but believe me it will have taken months not days, before I do. I’m not joking when I say that I honestly think I could be having a heart attack and I would still be sitting here telling myself “it’s not important”.
I don’t fully understand what it is that makes us lie to ourselves, I just know we all do it and it is far more than just a habit, it is some how much deeper and it has a true strength as when a lie becomes a living truth, that is real power.