I just got diagnosed with Shingles. I am just 28. And I have shingles. (Wonder if they are helping keep my internal organs dry from all this rain in the NorthEast lately…hah.) It is such an unusual thing that the nurse brought in another doctor to verify and observe. Talk about feeling great to be a sitting side-show of amazement in a johnny sitting on an exam table. Yeah. Fun.
BUT the nurse is amazing (I love this nurse practitioner) and really went over everything that it was and what it wasn’t. Basically it seems that stress has triggered the dormant chickenpox virus from my youth to flare up in a very painful rash. I haven’t slept in 3 days now. When I called my mother to explain and just give a heads up about the freak occurrence of shingles in a young (and otherwise perfectly healthy according to the nurse) woman; she asked, “Well what do YOU have to be stressed about?”
And you know what? I freaking hate questions like that. It is right up there with “Oh, you think YOU’RE fat, just look at me!” Like this one-upmanship of feeling shitty or having the most to worry about is a battle to win some trophy of “deserves the most pity” or something.
Well I’m sorry folks but I’m not TRYING to play the smallest pity violin here. In fact, when the doctor and nurse explained that this is usually caused by stress I kinda laughed it off; thinking “I didn’t THINK I was stressed”. But after my mother asked with such laughing scorn what possible things could even bother the life of a 28 year old fat white woman I stopped and actually mentally cataloged what is going on in my life. And you know something, it is a pretty long list. So maybe I am feeling a bit frantic over all I have to do and am planning to do and just what is going on through my mind and life lately.
The assumption that nothing someone else feels could POSSIBLY match what you are going through is a type of self-pity parade lingo that I don’t feel like taking part in. Sure, the old adage “there is always someone worse off then you” might hold true. That doesn’t make your own trials worthless or any less painful. Just knowing that you might be better off than someone else doesn’t always make your finances any looser or your meals any fuller or your rash any less inflamed. Living in such a construct of constant comparison is what gets us whipped into the diet frenzies (I have to look/be smaller than THAT) and it creates this sort of mentality where acting or showing how frazzled or sick you actually are is shunned or scorned. “Bah, stop faking it. What could possibly be so hard about your life/health/body?” Why do we try to play such games of “that isn’t as bad as THIS” all the time?
Sometimes don’t we just deserve to take a break and cry and feel as lousy as our body is telling us we feel without always having to put on a freaking happy face and pretend to the world that all is peachy-keen? There are days when I feel fantastic, full of energy, as healthy as doctors tell me I am, and every moment of my youthful age. Then there are days like today when I feel burning pain, stuffy headaches and overall malaise should mean that I don’t really have to be Miss April Sunshine to the rest of the world.