The Lone Wolf
We are wolves. Wolves are powerful, smart, loyal, and travel in packs.
In a perfect world, humans should be the same. We have our families and friends we sick by for company and security. We, humans, can do anything we want with our powerful minds and skilled hands.
But then there is the lone wolf. The one who leaves the pack and fends for themselves. They hunt alone, sleep alone, and survive alone. As Spondylitis patients, we often feel like lone wolves, don’t we?
Even if we are surrounded by friends, family, and co-workers, we still feel really alone due to our illness.
Misunderstood, judged unfairly, and sometimes a little prickly.
Let’s break it down.
“The lone wolf is all too often misunderstood.” -Unknown
“What is their deal?” the co-worker asks. “Why don’t they ever come out for drinks with us?”
What they do not understand is that not going out for drinks is not a comment on our friendliness, it is because after a day of work and masking our pain, we are exhausted! And, if we aren’t exhausted, it is often because we just don’t want to deal with all the questions, and comments that are made that are well meaning, but often hurt.
“Why didn’t you sign up for the charity 5k? We need one more person on our team”
They have no idea how loaded that question actually is.
Sometimes isolating yourself feels like a better plan, get on whatever social media platform you prefer (This site has a great TikTok account) and socialize from your couch with the rest of your spoonie pack.
The ones who truly understand you.
Doing it your way
“A wolf doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep.” -unknown
Those of us who have lived with Spondylitis for a while know how we like it and how things need to be. And those who are still trying to figure things out still have a pretty good idea. Who doesn’t know how things need to be are the sheep.
Okay, I’m not specifically talking about the recent definition of sheep meaning people who follow blindly. Although, they still might fall into this part of my story.
For the sake of this, sheep are the people who don’t know what it is like to be you, but still feel the need to tell you how you need to live your life. *Cough* Kale smoothies while doing yoga filled with toxic positivity *Cough*
But, as lone wolves, we need not concern ourselves with the opinions of people who don’t know our lives. Even when we feel pressured to.
In my support group leadership positions, I have come across plenty who struggle with their family and what they want. More than a few have told me their families have told them to not act disabled in public because it will make people think they are broken or unreliable.
To ask someone to lessen their disability in public because of what someone might think is hurtful and dangerous. Blending in is the way of the sheep, we are not sheep. Wolves do their own thing.
The lone wolf is stronger than the pack and so it survives”-Michael Alvear.
We, the wolves, are stronger than most. We endure more than the rest of the pack, we are more sensitive to changes in environment, and we have a better knowledge on how to control our feelings.
Spondylitis has made us superhuman!
It is a common concept in our community, if most people felt the kind of pain we live with every day, for just a minute, they would be curled up sobbing. Whereas we do not have that option, we need to keep going because every day is the same. Our good days are considered to be horrible days for the rest.
We are stronger. We are climbing a mountain carrying an extra backpack of spinal inflammation and pain. We could just quit and yet, we endure.
“I am a wolf, quietly I will endure, silently I will suffer, patiently I will wait, for I am a warrior and I will survive.”-Unknown
Granted, this site has a community leaders tab full of Spondys who are not silent about anything.
But, being loud is not the same thing as not being silent. A lot of us, I’m sure, are howling at the moon to mask our pain.
I act like I’ve got everything together throughout the day...And then I go home and stare at the ceiling completely washed over with pain and exhaustion. Anyone else?
The Spondy Life is one of suffering in silence and patiently waiting for relief. In some events, that is literally all we can do. We hope the flare will pass, that the heating pad will take the edge off, and our meds we took an hour ago might kick in just a bit.
Nobody can understand what we are feeling, or imagine what we are hoping for. We just sit silently.
We, the Spondylitis patients of the world, are in a pack of lone wolves.
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