I have noticed some shame associated with floxing. I have felt plenty of shame. I haven’t wanted people to know that I was sick. I haven’t wanted people to know how I got sick. I haven’t wanted people to know that I’m dwelling on being sick or that I’m participating in support groups. I certainly have felt some shame associated with having mental health issues – a lovely part of floxing. I have felt shame at how I dealt with getting sick – badly – something that I can at least partly attribute to my mental health issues that were caused by getting floxed. I have felt shame about the fact that I can’t do the things that I used to be able to do. I have felt shame about my anger. I have felt shame about not getting better more quickly (and I am a fast recovering Floxie). I have felt shame over the fact that I’ve changed, that I’m just different now. Lots and lots of stupid shame. I have noticed that other people seem to feel shame about being floxed too. They use a pseudonym when participating in the support groups, or they ask for things not to be shared with their friends or family members. Shame, it appears, is part of being Floxed, for many people.
I wonder where this shame came from. For me, in some cases it was justified. I really did deal horribly with getting sick. I was anxious, had psychotic thoughts and sought validation of my sickness and thoughts of my impending death. My family was worried – justifiably. And maybe it’s okay to feel a little ashamed of the fact that I’ve dwelled on being sick. It’s not healthy to have a sickness form your identity. More importantly, it’s not helpful. But I really shouldn’t have been ashamed of getting sick, or any of my symptoms. It’s not my fault. And the fact that you got sick is not your fault. And I shouldn’t have felt ashamed at the pace at which I recovered. My body, mind and spirit healed as fast as they could. Yours will too.
Shame, I think, ultimately stems from fear that you won’t be loved. That you won’t be loved as a sick person. That you won’t be loved as a person who can’t run, or play football, or dance, or whatever. That you won’t be loved as an anxious person. That you won’t be loved as a person who isn’t as smart as you used to be. That you won’t be loved as a tired person. That you won’t be loved as a Floxie. So you hide your sickness, your anger, your pain, and you feel ashamed.
I’m not sure what to say to any of you who can empathize with this post, other than stop it. Stop feeling ashamed. Stop hiding. Stop being afraid. And you may just find that you are loved just the way you are, busted tendons and all.
You are sick. You are not broken. You are not less. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You have no reason to hide. You are loved. Even if you are sick and scared and can’t move or think, you are loved. You are loved by your friends and family. Even if you don’t feel the love from them, don’t believe the love from them, you are still loved because love is within you. You are loved. You just are.