I was an extrovert, I loved being around people and I even admit that I liked to be the centre of attention and I always had a joke or humorous story to share. I never had had a problem talking to girls either, I didn’t use corny chat up lines on them, I would just start a conversation and I was genuinely interested in what they had to say, it wasn’t just a pulling technique.
I was often a little too loud and at 6′ 4″ tall, I always stood out from the crowd. I enjoyed being around people and going to pubs, clubs, parties etc and I easily bonded with new groups of people, I was just happy chatting and laughing and absorbing the company of other people!
My family now liken me to the character Victor Meldrew or say I’m like Jack Dee, I still have a sense of humour but it’s very dry and often people don’t understand that I’m joking and get offended, I don’t do it on purpose and usually I’m confused as to why the mood has changed. I now dislike parties, crowds of people, in fact I’m not keen on visitors. My wife will occasionally talk about what I was like when she first met me and my daughters find it funny to think of me in that way. So what went wrong?
I never did like people visiting me in hospital after surgery, I think it’s because I don’t want people to see me when I’m in pain, when I’m weaker and vulnerable and now I’m always in pain. Also being in pain is tiring and having visitors is hard work and then there is the fact that many people actually don’t understand or they are just ignorant to what it’s like to be in chronic pain 24/7 and so will say inappropriate things.
– I know how you feel, I had a toothache that lasted days
– My friend had a knee replacement and they are walking round just fine
– Maybe you should try getting out more
– I saw this in a magazine/newspaper and it will cure you
– I don’t know how you just sit there, I couldn’t
There is also the fact that I can’t go out to socialise, most people’s houses aren’t accessible and have upstairs toilets, I can’t stay out long because my pain levels shoot up and even car journey of a few miles is painful.
Energy levels are always low because being in pain is very tiring, I get out of bed after 10am and by 3pm I’m tired and thinking about bed but stay in the lounge and watch TV because distraction is one of the best defences against pain, we all know that having visitors into your home is tiring.
Finally but not least is my own views, my own fears! In the papers you will always find a story about someone who has wrongly claimed incapacity benefit or DLA, programmes and documentaries on television are always telling a similar story and others are happy to partake in a reality show on how life on benefits is amazing!
Social media contributes to this negativity about us so called benefits scroungers, taxpayers working hard to keep us in a life of so called luxury.
I wish I could say that family and friends are more understanding, but alas that is not the case, in fact many so called friends disappeared and people that we once invited to dinner and was invited to theirs are no longer willing to include us as friends, we are social outcasts, the scum of society and this makes me all the more withdrawn and distrustful.