I realized earlier that I don’t often think of myself as having EDS. It’s not that I don’t recognize or accept that I have it, but that I rarely ever use it to frame how I’m feeling. For example, I experience a lot of EDS symptoms in my shoulder area because of a teenage injury — but that’s not how I think about it.
In my mind, I tend to say, “Oh, my shoulder is really bothering me today,” or, “Wow, my trapezius muscle has really flared up.“ I don’t usually think, “My EDS is causing me a lot of shoulder pain.“ I couldn’t tell you why, and I’m not really sure if it matters. This wasn’t something I recognized until today. I have a few theories as to why I do it but to be honest I don’t know the answer.
One possibility is that it’s a coping mechanism. The less I think about my EDS, the less it influences me, right? (Insert eye roll here.) I realize how silly that sounds, but let’s be honest: our minds can sometimes trick us into believing things as a way to cope. I’m not sure if that’s why I do it, but if so, I don’t think it would be unhealthy. Rather, I see it as refusing to let EDS define me.
Another possible reason is that I spent 22 years not knowing what was wrong with me but managing the symptoms as best I could. As a result, I couldn’t think about how my EDS was affecting my shoulder (or anything else) even if I wanted to, because for so long I had no idea what it was for! Therefore it’s totally plausible to me that this behavior is simply a holdover from before I was diagnosed.
Does it matter if the answer is hypothesis number one or number two? I don’t think so. Truthfully, it’s probably some combination of the two. I’m seriously stubborn, especially when it comes to my EDS, so I can see myself subconsciously refusing to give power to EDS by recognizing that it’s clearly a player in my day-to-day life. My mindset has also been framed by more than 20 years of not knowing what was wrong, and I’m sure that I hold over much of that today, even though I’ve now been diagnosed for many years. Regardless of the reason, it was an interesting mental rabbit hole that I went down today.
Do others with EDS do the same thing? Let me know in the comments below.
Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.
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