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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Revealing Your Baggage: Chronic Illness Edition

Baggage is a game show that Jerry Springer hosts, it is a dating show crossed with To Tell the Truth - sorta. The point of the show is that the contestant is presented with three possible daters who have three pieces of "baggage" (unflattering secrets) to reveal.  The contestant will then decide who will be eliminated based on their baggage (or ugly truths)  The secrets range from mild to wild, with each reveal, the baggage gets worse.  Once the contestant selects his/her pick of the available daters, then the contestant reveals a big piece of his/her own baggage and the chosen dater gets to decide if he/she can accept the contestant's baggage or not.  This afternoon's episode of Baggage got me thinking... what would three pieces of my baggage be? 

The first suitcase is always a some-what minor yet important thing.  I think I would use the first piece of luggage to reveal that I live with my Mom.  Yes I am independent, I financially contribute to the household and I have responsibilities that come with having your own house.  I also take care of my Mom and she helps me on bad days.

The second piece of baggage I would open, would be that I have a chronic illness.  Not that my condition is something that I am ashamed of, but it is something I like to put on the table before I become emotionally invested into something or someone.  Call me cynical, but not everyone can handle a potential partner with a condition.  I would rather put my cards on the table in the beginning, that way no one feels tricked later on.  Plus that opens a door for me to talk more about my symptoms and what things I am able to do on my own and what things I can find a way to do.

The biggest suitcase that is revealed in the very last round of questions/answers is the whopper of secrets.  So now it is time to reveal my biggest piece of baggage.  I am emotionally fragile.  Not really a big surprise eh?  Once upon a time I was confident and not easily shaken, but since my diagnosis I have really grown to doubt myself.  Things effect me in ways now that they never have in the past.  Commercials that once made me laugh for how sappy they were now make me teary eyed.  Perhaps it is the wild roller coaster that my hormones have been on since the addition of hundreds of medications over the years.  Or maybe it is the way that my sleep is interrupted frequently from pain, I can't remember the last time I had a night of good honest sleep that was not medically assisted.  Then again, maybe it is because of the rejection I have gone through (doctors, friends, bosses, employees, family members) who didn't believe in my condition or felt that I was "putting on a show" to gain attention.  Not to mention that I'm not able to trust my body anymore, I have no way of knowing if tomorrow will be one of energy, pain, tears, or an exhausted emptiness that I can feel down in my toes.  If I can't trust my body then how can I trust my emotions? 

I understand and admit that everyone, healthy or chronically ill, has baggage.  Someone once said "No baggage means you haven't been anywhere."  Yet I wonder what does a person with chronic illness bring to the show that someone without might not have?  I have friends who have similar insecurities yet they are perfectly healthy.  Now that I think about it, my issues have always been my issues ~ I think my condition has just made me more aware of them. 

These books have helped me so very much put events and hurts of my past in the past so that I can open my heart up again.  It is a work in progress but this book is amazing. 
  

More Information for dealing with emotional baggage:

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