Alongside my hidden disability comes an occasional need to hide away, isolating myself to wrap up in home comforts, evading others, lying low. Working freelance can bring freedom and isolation. I simultaneously long for and dread social engagements. I can hide behind my illness, my responsibilities, social media and social niceties.

I am full of intention; hopes of feeling well tomorrow to reignite my social life, but today I need to quietly rest in my hideaway.

I can hide the details when asked; ” How are you?” “I’m fine thanks, yes, getting better.” For it is what we say. It is not socially acceptable to be ill or in pain. We’re all taught to pull our socks up, have an apple a day to keep the doctor at bay, get back on our feet and to be full of beans.

And I’m hiding because I love solitude. And yet I am, to an extent, a frustrated extrovert. Oh, to dance on a table, make a room full of people laugh. I ache to go out, out for nocturnal adventures, or away into sun-soaked escapades to meet new friends. I miss being a night person, bar hopping, knowing someone around every corner, sweaty-dancing, fast-walking to the next party, and to watch the sun come up.

While my days of limelight and dancing ’til dawn and are mostly done. It does me good from time to time to blow away the smokescreen to be in company, to exit my cocoon, to sit with friends and laugh, to reminisce. And we’ve all grown older, more inclined to slippers than dancing shoes. How wonderful to share food, music, thoughts and feelings. Simply to be, alongside family, just as we’ve always been, in comfortable silence. Accepted, open, out of hiding. I’m grateful to those who may miss the old me as much as I do, but have accepted and welcomed what I now bring when I emerge.

I hide because I need to. To replenish and rest. Not avoiding life, but having a different journey, through changing seasons, smelling autumn around the corner. Mornings and I are reacquainted. I appreciate trees and flowers. I am getting to know the sky.

And it’s all good.

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