Finding Bravery in Vulnerability

 

“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.
― Ernest Hemingway

 

I have loved this quote for a long time.

From the moment I read it in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, I felt that it described me and my life with chronic illness so well.

And I was so proud of that.

To live in pain every day, and to rarely express it. To downplay it, even to my closest family members, I saw as an act of bravery.

My mom would ask me to rate my pain, and proudly I would say two when in reality, every day I should have been saying anywhere from a four to a six on the pain scale.

Pain_Chart
Pain Assessment Scale

These were on good days.

On bad days, when I should have been rating my pain a seven, I would proudly state that it was only at four or five.

I would proudly and bravely say that I was saving my nines and tens for when I truly felt like I was dying.

When friends would come over, I would become animated, and sit up off the couch, exerting all my energy through that pain. They would come and go, thinking I was fine.

Not realizing my suffering.

Not knowing that immediately after they left, I would collapse. Unable to function. So exhausted and in pain I would be reduced to tears.

I thought this was bravery. I thought this was fighting through my illness.

Then my port became infected.

I was so sick I couldn’t even walk.  Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

I was sweating through my clothes every night.

I kept trying to fight it. Not show my fear that something was wrong.

That I felt like I was dying.

When I finally asked my mom to take me to the emergency room, and I was told that I was septic, I realized my silence was not bravery or something to be proud of.

I needed to be vulnerable. Something that would take more courage than I thought I could muster.

As I lay in the hospital for a week receiving IV antibiotics, and then another four weeks at home receiving more IV antibiotics and continuing to recover from one of the scariest events of my life, I realized that people forgetting that I was suffering was not what I wanted. I wanted to inspire people with my suffering because they too may be suffering and maybe I could help them along their healing journey.

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I am learning that there is a great strength in vulnerability.

I am also learning that being vulnerable takes time and practice. Oh, so much practice.

I have wanted to share my chronic illness journey for some time now, in the hopes of helping others going through something similar but have been too scared to make myself vulnerable. I now realize how trivial this is because there are things much more frightening than being vulnerable.

So here I am, stepping out of my comfort zone, to share with all of you everything from illness to wellness. Whether it be through good eats, mindful movement, beauty from the inside out, or anything else that I am finding interesting in the health and wellness world at the moment.

Hopefully, you will learn something from my experiences along the way. And hopefully, I will learn something from you as well.

Thank you for joining me and following along!

xo – Morgancourtney-hedger-336844-unsplash

 

 

 

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