I think if you live long enough with chronic pain and illness along the way someone will not understand. They will say things that they themselves don’t really understand why they said them.
“You are just being lazy.”
” You are just too lazy to support yourself.”
” If you were not so lazy this house would be clean.”
They are not inside our brain so they couldn’t possibly know the battle we fight to do things.
The body’s natural defense is to conserve energy wherever it can. Being lazy is actually our natural instinct. Once the primary needs for survival are obtained the body’s natural instinct is to cease activity. Most people can overcome this natural instinct with rationalization that there are other things to be done. The trash needs to be taken out, the clothes need to be washed, the dishes need to be washed. These things seem like they are basic needs but in fact the brain doesn’t automatically make that leap. There are other dishes, there are other clothes or no clothes, and so on.
It’s not that I am not motivated to do things, or get things done. It’s that there is this war in my brain going on almost all the time. The body is sending all kinds of messages to the brain. I hurt. I ache. don’t move any muscles. my joints are too tight. my skin doesn’t like touch. I am tired. The brain is in return saying. There are dirty dishes we should do. The laundry is starting to smell it needs to be done. The floors look horrible. We have to go get groceries. There is a great deal of compromise that happens because these two can’t agree most of the time. We will get up and sweep the floor then we will rest. We will do the dishes for five minutes at a time then rest. It’s also known as pacing yourself. That wording never worked for me. Thus I named it compromise and I suddenly was much better at pacing.
Then there are the few times where I actually have energy and motivation to get things done. What happens then? My brain completely shuts down. I can get a lot done as long as it doesn’t require thinking. Why won’t this washer door open? It’s stuck! It’s broken! Try opening it from the right side. That really does help. It just doesn’t occur to us right away, or until someone else points it out to us. Words flip themselves around as they come out my mouth so people can’t understand me. I start thinking as I am driving and just drive on auto-pilot and end up at home instead of the next store. Its wondering why you are suddenly shaky and feeling faint and then realizing you haven’t eaten for eight hours.
This is also not including the times that depression has reached its peak and none of the above really works. We end up passing the whole day staring at a television or a wall and can’t figure out where the whole day went. There have been times when the depression had such a hold on me I had to set timers to make sure I picked my daughter up from school on time. Depression is not being lazy. Depression is its own monster. I could say it’s a chemical imbalance but it is so much more than that. It is depressing to day in and day out want to do things but to be physically unable to do them. It is depressing to go to doctor visit after doctor visit being only able to treat the symptoms. It is depressing to not be able to put exactly what you are feeling into words that others can understand. It’s not hard to understand why people with chronic pain and illness are depressed. We should be amazed that they got out of bed that morning let alone are dressed and are reasonably functioning.