Often when I talk about myself, I feel eerily detatched from the situations and experiences I’m describing. I used to think it was similar to watching a movie; I was the lead star, but the narrator was somebody else entirely and the scripts never quite matched up. Now I realise it feels more like a form of denial – if I don’t accept something could be the truth, it can’t hurt me – and I’m beginning to think it’s not doing me any good to be so removed from myself.

All my life, I have called myself a liar. Sometimes with good reason – I lied with abundance in my teens to try to fit in – but often there’s no lies being told, other than the ones I tell myself to stay safe and ignorant. Denial has long been a part of my life; so long that it’s a natural emotion for me, one which never used to carry weight or worry me but which now makes me wonder if this dissociation could be the reason why I find it so difficult to accept things in life and move on.

When speaking to doctors and counsellors about my eating disorders in the past, I have often sat in the chair and wondered if I’m not exaggerating to get attention. I used to convince myself that my binge/purge cycle wasn’t really bulimia, and that starving myself had nothing to do with anorexia. I could use the words with ease to describe my eating habits, but there would always be a part of me shouting in the background, accusing myself of lying. I thought if I only stuck my fingers down my throat a few times a week, or didn’t completely empty my stomach, it wasn’t bulimia. It was just a bad habit, like smoking. Certainly not a mental health problem. It was always he same with self-harm; other people self-mutilated, I simply made half-arsed scratches and scrapes to make myself more miserable.

It’s difficult to explain how I could think that my habit of burning my arms and legs with heated-up bits of metal, scissors, hair clips and cigarettes could just be a way of depressing myself so I could be the morbid, cool, damaged teenage girl everyone secretly admires. Above everything else, I’ve never sought attention; I dislike it intensely, especially when it applies to the crazier side of me. I just want to be left alone, not put in the spotlight.

The point of all this navel-gazing is I’ve realised that I’m nowhere near being able to accept I have arthritis. It’s been over a week since my diagnosis, and although it’s probably normal to be in some sort of denial and that alone certainly wouldn’t be cause for concern, what worries me is that little voice inside my head, telling me I’m making it all up. That I’ve misunderstood Dr B, or invented it all as a reason for the pain. It’s ridiculous, really; I have proof from the referral letter, and I’m sure my GP will tell me the same things when I see him in a couple of weeks. I have a bruise in the crook of my arm from the blood test needle.

I don’t know what the problem is. It’s not like it’s a death sentence, after all. Yes, I will be in pain for the rest of my life – barring any medical miracles – but did I really expect anything different?

About these ads


  1. Sorry to hear this. Is this diagnosis the only one? Meaning is this the source of all the pain? My diagnosis of dystonia has become iffy but still stands as well as the Fibromyalgia. Hope you are okay and sorry I having been keeping up with you. These illnesses consume so much of our lives. Wishing you well.


  2. We as a people tend to keep shooting ourselves in the foot..I’m sure there are a zillion reasons why.. arthritis is not a death sentence and I am sure with the help of your Docs you will find a manageable pain-reduction routine..until then, embrace the gifts you do writing :-)


  3. Hello, and love from Maine! I am very familiar with that small voice, and for me, the way to fight it has been to make little steps that are definitively true — that I cannot deny. If I were in your case with the arthritis, I would call the rheumatologist’s office and ask for a written diagnosis. No need to tell them why. They will do it for you. Then, when you hear that voice, or when you feel doubt, you have signed, written proof from the doctor to fall back on. Of course, at some point anyone can deny anything, such as, “Why would the doctor write the truth in this letter?” But if you trust your doctor, this kind of little reminder can go a long way toward shutting up the little voice.


  4. You really hit on some good points. This is quite thought provocing. Why do we put ourselves into this “self denial” routine? To protect ourselves from reality? Because we all know reality sucks. I do the same thing occasionally. I don’t know why. It’s human nature I guess. We all would like to think “Oh, that couldn’t happen to me.”. Then if or when it does, we still would like to think we’re impervious to it. “It’s not the same thing, mine is different.”. Like I said, it has to be a form of self protection. Truth can hurt. And some of us can’t handle the pain of it.


  5. I think its not easy to just accept at face value any dx when its been so long in the coming. How do we know they have it right? I mean after al if just took a blood test and all this time I;ve been left to wonder alone what it is than how do I trust this is so?

    And when yoou have an illness that has to be justiified to a doctor God forbid that we ask them for justification and credible documentation. It’s looked at then that we are the ones who are falling off our rockers, never them (medical community) because we just don’t trust autimatically? Really>
    I wonder why that is?

    Never stop second guesing them, but begin to trust that you have valid and credible issues that you are owed explainations for


  6. I have that same voice in my head. It often says things like, “You are such a wuss! Martyre! Liar! You’re just making it up! You are so lazy! You could do that if you really wanted to.” In my heart I know that what it says is not true, but I still start to second guess myself. Just remind yourself that what is causing you pain has a name. If others recognize the reality, you are not making it up. Listen to what your heart says because it can’t lie, but your brain can.

    Hang in there. Life will get better!


  7. That is so well written and so much of it makes sense to me. Can’t explain it for myself except that I have a feeling it’s something to do with my BPD. But still working on it. I do think though, that being aware of it is a good place to start. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Wow. I love reading about denial because it’s so easy to get stuck and stay stuck in it. I think if I was diagnosed with arthritis, I wouldn’t accept that either. Actually, I’d be on the internet lickety-split researching it, along with mental, exercise and nutritional solutions. Thank you for being so candid.


Send me love.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s