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I have a somewhat strange family makeup. My mother, brother, and I are all mentally and physically ill in some way or another. My aunt and her family, on the other hand, are perfect. Health issues are minor and dealt with quickly and quietly. My grandparents like to pretend that all is well with all of us, and don’t like to be confronted with the ugly truths. 

I have had complex regional pain syndrome for just over a year now. I see my aunt and her family very rarely, only special occasions, and they don’t know what I’ve been going through. This Christmas is the first time they will be seeing me since my CRPS has taken a turn for the worse. I look like the hunchback of Notre Dame when I walk. 

I have a terrible, overwhelming shame when it comes to my movement. I hate how I walk. Walking causes terrible pain that I prefer not to deal with so I spend most time horizontal on the couch. I have started using my Walker around the house. 

This may all seem unrelated, but there is a method to my madness. My aunt lives in a huge house, has the perfect family, and is so alpha that she could make a lion cower. My uncle is more or less the same, a perfectionist. This huge house of theirs has beautiful hardwood floors and nice clean tile. They hate messes. And I’m supposed to cart myself over there and (pardon the term) but more or less gimp around their huge house and pray there is a padded seat for me to sit on for Christmas morning. 

I so badly want to take my wheelchair. My Walker. Heck I’d settle for my cane. It’s terrifying to think of ruining their floors and getting yelled at or made fun of. Scorned, stared at, given tons of terrible advice on how to cure myself. I am so afraid to go to what should be a happy family get together. 

I don’t want to inconvenience them. I don’t want to be a burden. These feelings of self resentment and shame are so pervasive it’s all I’ve thought about for the last two days. 

I know realistically that my family doesn’t mean to upset me. But even the smallest of jibes has been hurting. Even hearing the word “inconvenience” sends me into a downward spiral of depression and tears. My family can be compared to a pride of lions. They like to attack weakness and weed out the inferior. I am ashamed. 

My family are good people. My uncle, a police sergeant. My aunt works for the government. But they don’t understand how to deal with insecurities and disabilities. 

My family loves me. I will try my best to make it through this holiday season without crying. It’s so hard to feel so negatively about family. I love them dearly and wish I didn’t feel like this. I’m going to apply to my local pain clinic after the holidays, and maybe they can help me deal with these feelings of inadequacy. 

Hoping everyone has a wonderful holiday, no matter what holiday you celebrate!