I cut my thumb the other day! Do I seem excited?! Well, I was! I was slicing a cucumber with one of those mandolin slicers and all of a sudden I felt my thumb go right over the blade. No, I’m not one of those people who get off on pain, I’d be dead by now if I were! But as I watched the blood gushing from my thumb, I felt a kind of satisfaction. My chronic, daily pain is invisible to myself and others. I feel it, can describe it, am sick with it, but it’s not visible. It gives others pause to think, “Is she really hurting THAT badly? Is she faking it? She can’t hurt like that every day!” I am used to playing my pain down when out and about because people honestly don’t want to hear bitching and moaning from others when they have their own issues and I understand that. I really do. So I say “I’m okay.” But when my thumb wouldn’t stop bleeding after 3 hours, I thought it might need a stitch or two. I wrapped it, cleaned the mess I’d left behind, and drove to a “doc in a box.” I walked in and happily explained what I did. The receptionist said, “Oh, you’re really bleeding, aren’t you?!” She probably thought I was insane when I smiled and said “Yes! Yes I am!“ I filled out my forms as others came and went, some stopping to say “that looks like it hurts!” Some looked nauseous when they saw the amount of blood. I think I was still smiling, sick as that sounds. I was taken into an exam room and the doctor came in and said, “Wow, that looks nasty! Does it hurt?” I told her not really, I just couldn’t get the bleeding to stop. She cleaned the wound out, which did hurt, then decided to use DermaBond (think Superglue) and a butterfly bandage. I thanked her, checked out, and left. I went to Target and saw people looking at my bandaged thumb and thought “It’s visible, they see it, they know I’m not imagining it, they know I’m not faking it!” It sounds absolutely ridiculous to the common person, but to anyone with migraines, fibromyalgia, Lupus, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., you understand! The feeling of doubt, fear, embarrassment, shame, guilt for having an invisible illness that makes you have to prove it’s validity. To non-understanding friends, to non-empathetic doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, unfeeling insurance companies, and worst of all, Social Security Disability. SSDI, who will do their best to quash your claims, and try to prove that you’re faking an illness that has taken over your life. Controls every minute of every day, takes away your choices, leaves you an empty shell of who you once were. So, you’ll forgive me if I gloat a bit about my sliced thumb and bandage! I’ll probably even leave it on longer than necessary, but I’ve earned the right dammit!