An obvious sign of illness

tbt0919Confession: I like wearing my wrist brace.

This week my wrist has been achey, surely a sign that I’ve been on the computer too much and have still not properly learned to type in the way that you’re supposed to— you know, wrists not resting on the keyboard, taking breaks to stretch your hands, sitting up straight with good back support.

In any case, when my wrist starts to hurt I put on this handy stabilizing brace I got at the pharmacy—my HT (my Handicapped Twin) recommended it, and if I wear it for a couple of days while typing and driving, my wrist pain dissipates.

I realized something last evening when I wore my brace to my weekly tai chi classes. I like wearing the wrist brace sometimes. I like that people look at me and know that there is something wrong, however benign. I like that I am in pain, however mild, and I am putting it out there, obvious for all to see.

I never pretend the wrist pain is a severe problem for me, cause it’s not. And if people ask me if my arm is okay, I say, “Yes, I’ve just been working on the computer a lot and this helps stabilize my wrist ‘til it stops hurting.” I don’t like about the pain, or the reason for the wrist brace.

As much as I often think about how I don’t want people to make assumptions about me just because I have frequent, severe migraine attacks, I find that sometimes I don’t want a migraine attack to be kept quiet. But once in awhile I think it’d be cool to have some kind of outward sign—a fiery red X on my forehead, a big exclamation point hovering above my head—to show people that my illness is real, that I’m experiencing the pain of it in that very moment.

Invisible illnesses are everywhere, and it’s hard to explain to others that yes, in fact, you are sick, even if you seem to look normal on the outside.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

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