It all started with a comment from a couple of colleagues as this person passed through on the way home from several of post-operative scans. Apparently, I looked good and probably did compared to the gry faced, baggy-eyed specimen that walked these feet prior to lockdown.

“Gee, you’re looking good.”

This; after now six months away from work. 

What it takes to arrive at “looking good”

This all began whilst popping into work on the way home from a CT Scan, and a comparison was made from whence last at work.

This kinda hurt, yet is pleasing to a personal success of being able to hide many truths within this superpower toughened skin. Though for this person, it’s good for the exterior to match the expectations of those about. We shan’t mention the physical and physiological condition of the insides, state of mind, or attitude that can be quite contrary to how this person actually feels at this time.

Hiding the gait of the feet whilst walking is probably the hardest, yet the pain remains within, though new hospital approved super-wide orthotic footwear go a long way to improving the gait and to remove much of the physical pain, through being soft and comfortable.

A lifetime’s hunting pays off as the hospital approved orthotic footwear and the orthotics supplier happens to provide the most comfortable boots of a lifetime’s worth of outdoors hunting, climbing, tramping, shooting. The widest-ever boots and they fit and are so soft and comfortable.

Of a lifetime’s worth of gradual diagnosis arriving thru a time portal from a medical world that is behind the times, yet when it does catch up, it’s worth it

Loading up of drugs, this, the balancing act of miracles over time. When many specialists and GP’s and supporting roles of imaging and practical outdoors experience and of knowing one’s own body well with how it reacts to weather, seasons, stress, response to constant and often extreme physical exertion.

These drugs keep the mortgage paid, and whare supplies ongoing on a single income. As they also enable this person to work on daily shifts on ten hours minimum; with an up to two-hour commute each way. Often several kilometres are travelled to and from physical tasks within factory walls, with communication to all levels of colleagues, and all positively, efficiently and effectively. 

Very few people know of the level and number of arthritic challenges, need to know does apply, and otherwise, the silence continues.

Of being solid, shield intact for all others. For the Mums who require the / this rock to be solid, available, and able to be whatever is required. Pruning and cutting down trees days prior to spinal surgery is a typical example. Silence is gold.

For work and colleagues, to be happy, positive regardless of workloads, stresses and stressors, and how bad the day/week has gone. No matter, or indeed any stresses and stressors from home re fiscal or worry about family members, these are compartmentalised, internally. 

Techniques for hiding include removing fingernails to remove the incidence of scratching as the pins and needles of nerves repair from spinal surgery. This is hard after a lifetime of chewing nails off for other reasons, and now this is a regression after the concerted effort of enjoying nails for a relatively short time. Sacrifices, and silence.

Removing oneself from sight by hiding in the garden and great outdoors, can be a double-edged sword, as though no one can see you, therefore, any pain and chronic symptoms a that can show can be seen, a few days later, physical pain may be visible, the mental is beautifully refreshed, rejuvenated and alive, people are welcome to see this.

Any physical and physiological pain, suffering must be hidden and internalised. Any mental doubts, any sign of show of the lack of self-confidence (leaving out self-esteem as that doesn’t exist anyway) must not show. 

For family and friends, one must always show strength. Be it physical, physiological, and mental, adapting to the daily issues can be tough, especially when one has planned an event and others want one to do something else somewhere else, so yet because of the typical empaths non-communication, and have not told anybody, disappointment must be contained.

Of hiding one’s true feelings so well, it’s often difficult to determine how one feels at any one time anyway. 

A lifetimes worth of responding to people, telling them what they want to hear makes life so much simpler. Yes, it’s telling lies, yet mostly for the greater good. They don’t really want a negative answer on each morning’s greeting, and there’s nothing that can be done anyway on their part. With this, the danger is keeping it together while at work whether it’s physical, physiological, or emotional, or a combination of the above as is usually the case.

They don’t need to know that the daily thoughts of ending the employment, or whether this person may not be alive next week are a constant, and something that is always, always, internalised. It’s the strength of the mind and this strength that has developed over a lifetime that is now a superpower and is tough as the super skin that holds this all together.

When finally the sand gets in the eyes, it’s alone, with headphones on to music, and when all is silent, the silence remains totally silent. Sometimes a sweet rum is self-medicated.

Remember, it’s all inside, and this stays this way.

The fear is there, the fear may or may not be real, yet it remains. If the shield lets go or is compromised, to the effect that one let’s go, it may become easier to let go again. And; again, if that happens when one least expects it on a day that could be a lot better, and the shield is already compromised, the letting go occurs without thinking. This must NOT HAPPEN. . . ever.  

The toughness is only there when the shield is up, completely intact, and solid. This is primary, paramount, and has lasted this far in life, so shall continue.

Arthritis New Zealand

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