I experience pain every day. Sometimes it isn't bad, other times there are shooting pains down my ass and into my leg that hurt so much I can do nothing but sit there helplessly and cry. Spasms mean I can't sit comfortably through an entire movie. Sometimes it hurts just to walk. The depression that comes from living in chronic pain, combined with feeling like I can't do anything without "angering" the injury can be crushing. Thinking about the future only makes it worse... I'm 27 and I have no children, what if I get pregnant or decide I want kids...would it be the most unbearable pregnancy ever because of this injury? Could I even have kids in spite of not being able to pick them up for fear of not being able to function? I have no answers and it makes me sad. It is even more depressing for someone who believes in and wants to try everything once. I still try to "have a life", and sometimes I pay for it dearly in the days following. I am ashamed to say that I once considered suicide to escape the pain, because I don't know what the future could hold, because between the pain and the legal paperwork and the inability to get help I've often felt like I was/am losing my fucking mind. This is no kind of life.
I like to tell people THE SPOON THEORY in an attempt to help people understand. While I don't have Lupus like the woman in the story, what I can do and how much I can do can be very limited. That being said...I discovered soon after I was injured that there are things I could not do around my home without pain. After 8 hours of working, sometimes I have just enough left in me to make dinner and maybe do some laundry before I hit that "too much" point and start to hurt. Sometimes, one activity can ruin an entire day.
An old friend from high school messaged me and offered to come over and give me an estimate. We worked out an agreement and she has been helping me out ever since. Truth be told...she does way more than we originally agreed upon and I try my best to be grateful.
But what people need to understand is this: I don't fucking have a "maid". I don't live in the lap of Luxury and this damn sure isn't a luxury I can afford. I pay her 10% less per hour than what I make to come over and clean. And for the record, I don't make much. I've had to tell her not to come over and clean because I can't afford to pay her; not only does my inability to pay mean that I have to live in a mess, but then she also doesn't get that extra income. I've gone without because having her come over was more important. I don't have a maid, what I have someone who is kind enough to come and help me out for a small fee because I cannot physically do what needs to be done around my home. While I pay considerably less for her services than what normal people pay for a "maid", I also provide her with all of her supplies, feed her dinner and usually clean side-by-side with her doing what I can do.
Having a maid might be a really nice thing for some people, but having a "house helper" out of necessity isn't really nice and not just for financial reasons. The first time she came...I cleaned for days because I was so embarrassed about the condition of my home. The anxiety and depression was crushing. It might sound like a dream to not HAVE to mop and I wish that was my situation; I can't even begin to explain what it is like to not be ABLE to do something that is so routine, normal and necessary. It's a complete 180. Having to ask someone to come in and clean up after you because you can't is embarrassing. The fact that my home, without her, deteriorates into a sticky, grimy mess and there isn't much I can do about it is humiliating. I've explored alternative options like steam mops, Swiffers, and Swivel Sweepers. I've spent lots of money on that crap too. Sure, I can do all kinds of preventative things like never spilling on the floor, wiping up small spills when they happen, taking a little time out of every day to clean up the messes that happen in life....but sooner or later you have to do the job the right way with a good old fashioned mop.
People have asked me why I don't have my family help me. And you know what? The other members of my family have their own stresses, pains and lives...not to mention they have their own households to clean. If I called my mom to come over and help, she would be there in a second. But somehow through all of this I still have some kind of semblance of silly pride that says "I'm a fucking adult and I'm not going to ask my mommy to come clean up after me". My siblings are working and going to school, or raising children and taking care of their own homes. I refuse to be a burden. Perhaps my pride is silly, but at least I can say I worked hard and paid someone to come over and do this shit...I didn't just sit there and demand or rely on the goodwill of others.
While I'm sure it looks like I must have it easy because I have someone to "come over and clean", please keep in mind that I still work in order to pay her to come over and do all of the shit I physically cannot do-that's money out of my pocket making my budget tighter and I'm not making it YOUR problem, so fuck you very much. Fuck you very much for your snide ass tone like I'm too fucking lazy to take care of my responsibilities and I have my priorities wrong. Fuck you very much for making me feel even shittier about the fact that I can't do something as simple as mop my floor without being useless the rest of the night. Fuck you very much for treating me like finding a solution to a problem is an act of laziness, would you prefer it if I just went on disability and let your tax dollars and the state pay for someone to come in? Fuck you very much for being physically able enough to sit around and judge people without fucking knowing what it's like to not be able to clean up your own messes in your own goddamn home. Fuck You Very Much for being able to mop your floor and not have it lead to sitting there and wanting to die rather than deal with the pain anymore just because you wanted a clean kitchen floor. Fuck you Very Much for opening your trap about things that don't involve, concern, effect or impact you in any way...I hope you NEVER have to know what it feels like to be in chronic pain, unable to do one of the most simple activities of daily living and have someone say something shitty to you like you did to me.