With chronic pain and mental illness there is just an immense stigma in society and this constant pressure for women and men to just ‘fake it till we make it’ to ‘push through it’. And often with woman, to smile while we do it. And also this idea that not only should we push through it but we must function like someone who is in perfect health. And, if we don’t, well then we can be shamed and made to feel guilty and like a failure.
It is intense pressure. Don’t talk about. Smile. Fake it. Function. Crash when you get home. Try to sleep, if you can. Repeat. No matter how much pain you are in… you have to play the game. I have no idea why. But it kills you a bit inside. Slowly. Because you can’t function like that. And unmanaged pain with chronic sleep deprivation and the stress from not functioning well at work… and there will be a breaking point. Because you can’t complain. Because you are Pushing and Pushing. Eventually something has to break.
And when you do… it is put on You. Not those that discriminated against you, stigmatized you, refused accommodations, forced you to return from long term leaves. Not the insurance system designed to force you back to work with every single twisted trick they have when you are too sick and too tired to fight or even know how to fight. Not the employers with their borderline or quite Over the line actions and threats of possibly losing your job, being laid off, actually getting demoted, or other ultimatums, threats and cruel remarks… nope… you. Because they will break you with your silence. And then blame you for it. But when you speak or scream… they don’t hear you anyway.
Smothered Suffering: 8X10 Print
Smothered Suffering: 11X14 Print