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There are two of me, living side by side, inside and out of one another, moving and breathing in lock step, sharing the same mind and body. One of me is of the world, seen by all and mistaken for the picture of health and wellness. The other lives invisibly, in dark sadness, uncertainty and constant discomfort.

I am not crazy. I am not insane. There are two of me. One of us tries to be productive and active and involved in life, while the other, ripe with quiet never ending apprehension, full of unseen aliments, is tucked away, hidden from view.

Lacking obvious impairment, one might think me a fraud. Yet there are most definitely two of me. On a good day, maybe even I fool myself. I look fine. I grocery shop. I walk the dogs. I make dinner. I clean the house. I exercise. But, there are two of me, because while I do all of these things and try to do them with a smile on my face, the other me hurts. The other me silently cries as physical pain from achy joints and tired bones, cramping muscles and, shortness of breath rip through me like a freight train in a silent movie. There are no tears from the pain, no outward sign of physical distress. These maladies are just part of me, silently living inside of me, you don’t see them. They are the other me.

I have learned to compensate for the two of me. I have learned to integrate both of us so that I can function in the world to the best of my ability. There are two of me. One you see and the other you don’t. I have learned where to expend my limited energy. I have learned that the brave face I wear, is best worn for myself, and not for the benefit of other people. I have learned to look my best in order to fight an ever creeping temptation to give in. I have learned not be distracted by physical pain.

There are two of me, intertwined like conjoined twins, but one of us is invisible, unseen and often mistaken for an imposter.

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