I want to tell someone, hey, my pain is fading! It shifted over to this place now and it feels like this instead of this! I have plenty of friends I could call up who would rejoice with me, but historically, the people I've felt closest to are my parents.
I've spent the 30 months I've had vulvodynia constantly struggling to feel cared for by my parents. I've done everything I know to do to get them to understand what is lacking in our relationship, how they hurt me with their constant oversights, and what they can do to help me through it. But none of it has made any difference.
Before I got vulvodynia, I thought my parents and I had a pretty good relationship. But the stress of vulvodynia showed me exactly where the cracks lie between us. The thing is, my parents don't even know the cracks are there.
Like when Alexandra Carmichael told me my story would be in the Vulvodynia Heroes book (which is out today) -- I e-mailed my parents right away. It was so cool and such a positive thing to come out of my experience, both the book and my participation in it.
I sent that e-mail 12 days ago, and I haven't heard a word from either of them about it. Not an e-mail, nothing. How in the world can they not respond to that?! It's representative of almost all of our exchanges regarding vulvodynia. I might as well never have said anything.
They still, 30 months later, don't understand the kind of stress I've been under living with chronic pain even though they are the people who have gotten the most details about it out of all the people I know. They still can't remember that I'm in pain all the time, that I might not want to do things like go skiing, that I might be deathly afraid of eating the wrong food.
And it makes me think -- if I had to have surgery for my pain, would they believe it was necessary? Would they support me? Would they take care of me? Rationally I know they'd be there while it happened, but I honestly don't feel like they'd show up.
It makes me think -- if my pain goes away, will they celebrate with me? Or will it be just another day for them?
I can't stand the thought of them saying a passing "hurrah" when my pain goes away. That thought cuts me, probably because I know how likely it is. So, for now, for a while, I'm just going to withdraw from my family. Emotionally, I'm at my wit's end, and turning to them without receiving the support I need -- or, worse, like last night, feeling like I've been tossed in a gutter -- hurts a lot more than going it alone.
I don't care if this is dirty laundry. Let it air.