Admittedly I’m a slob by nature, but I also prefer to spend my low headache pain time doing something I enjoy, which isn’t cleaning. I love having a pretty house and like it to be clean, but one of my talents is stepping over junk on the floor as if it didn’t exist. I also rarely notice something that’s out of place.

I mentioned to a good friend how (in)frequently I clean my shower. She literally wrinkled her nose. The scrubbing wears me out and I have to rest for a couple hours after I do it. Of course, the scrubbing might not be so exhausting if I kept on top of it.

My purpose isn’t to tell you about by housekeeping skills, but to consider how even my closest friends don’t know how awful I feel most of the time.

When someone asks how I feel, I either say it’s been a nasty week or, more often, that I’m doing OK. I even do it here. Part of this is because I easily forget how much pain I was in a couple days ago. Unless I can remember being out of commission, I think that I felt OK. Even if I didn’t. Part of it is that I don’t want to be a complainer.

Maybe my surefooted navigation of the messy floor contributes to my ability to pretend that the pain isn’t so bad. Honestly, I delude myself just as often as I misrepresent my pain to my friends. That’s not such a bad thing. But it would be nice to let my friends know what’s going on.

6 thoughts on “Misrepresentation”

  1. I am so releived to know there are other people out there like me. I am sitting here sobbing reading your blog (my first headache blogs ever-the computer makes my head hurt!). I have suffered for 15 years, half my life with headaches, and now also have rheumatoid arthritis and never known anyone else like me, no one who understands the guilt, shame frustration, dirty house, string of jobs and constant pain. I think I’ll make time for this website, it might be worth a little extra pain for the encouragement! Thanks.

    I’m sorry you’re suffering so much. You’re definitely not alone.

    Take care of yourself.


  2. I’ve begun to think that misrepresentation is a fact of life. I just can’t bear to lay it all on the line every time I talk to someone. It’s such a drag!

    I’m so glad to hear that you have an incredible husband, Julie. Being a partner of someone with headache is no easy task.


  3. I know your post was mainly about misrepresenting your pain and faking it but for some reason I got stuck on the dirty shower thing. Truly, whenever people ask me how I’m doing, I say “I’m all right.” Which is just vague enough to satisfy most people. When someone asks me specifically how my headaches are, I usually say “I’m hanging in there.” Positive, but not too revealing. The only person I regularly share my pain with is my husband. He is incredible. I hide my pain from my 10 year old daughter unless I am bed-ridden (as I was yesterday). Oh what a tangled web we weave……

  4. Thanks for the reassurances! I’ve also been reprimanded by a plumber. I’m OK with it most of the time, but some days all I can think about it how messy everything is.

    My wonderful husband told me the other day that he doesn’t see having a clean house as a priority in our lives. Now I just need to deal with the pressure I put on myself.


  5. Seriously Kerrie, my shower is never clean. The grout is old and porous and no matter how many times I spray it with Mildew Away (non-toxic, no odor) it doesn’t get much better. I really would be mortified if someone outside of my family saw it. The plumber made a comment when he came to fix the clogged up shower and I wanted to crawl away somewhere. You have to choose your battles and this is one I’ve chosen to lose.

  6. I understand the not cleaning/not complaining way of life. Unless people have chronic headaches, they just can’t comprehend how bad you can feel–and how the duration of the condition wears you down.

    So there are times I say “Ok” too, even if I have a headache. Chronic illnesses scare people : /

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