The irony of "Why I hide my truth."

It’s ironic that my essay, Why I hide my truth, posted today at The Sunlight Press.

The irony is that yesterday, David and Goliath duked it out within me about that very thing–sharing my truth when I’m most vulnerable. Goliath fought to keep truth in; David fought for its freedom.

I’ve been battling chronic health problems now for over four years. Some days are better than others; yesterday was not one of them.

Most days, I’m able to offset the discouragement of my physical symptoms with the joy and purpose of writing, and simple pleasures like reading on my porch swing. Yesterday was not one of them. I was a hot mess.

I hate asking for help. I hate bothering people. I hate that I might be perceived as needy. I hate exposing my raw feelings, and yesterday, they were rawer than beef standing in a field, mooing.

But I know that this journey I’m on, to write the story of my difficult motherhood, made more difficult by my son’s brain tumor, is intended to help me to grow. The universe is challenging me to break free of my old habits. If I don’t, my pain will not have been worth it.

But old habits die slower than a hosta in poor soil. Yesterday, I scrolled through the contacts in my phone, and saw many friends I could call. How blessed I am. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t reach out. So I put my phone down and cried even harder. Then I felt worse, because I knew what I needed, and it was so simple, but I was too afraid.

I knew The Sunlight Press essay would post today, and I thought, Have I learned nothing from this process? I understand better why I hide my truth, and writing is a wonderful outlet, but sometimes, Goliath must fall at that very moment, not weeks or months later. Sometimes, David has just one shot, and it’s now or never.

I believe our greatest fears are our greatest opportunities for growth.

So, with a deep breath and a prayer, I did it. I texted some friends, who called me right back. I cried, they listened, and I felt better. I even laughed. The physical pain remained, but the emotional pain went poof, like a cloud of dust in Golliath’s fallen wake.

New habits take practice, and sadly, I’ll have many more opportunities to learn. I expect each time I reach out, it will be a little easier. And each time, I’ll have good fodder for my writing.


  • Karen DeBonis

    Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, people-pleasing, and personal growth, the entangled mix told in her memoir "Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived" forthcoming in spring 2023. Subscribe today to receive Chapter 1: A Reckoning.

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  1. Vivian on August 20, 2018 at 6:44 PM

    Chronic illness is such a draining battle emotionally and physically. I truly understand Karen. Big hugs🤗

  2. Karen DeBonis on August 20, 2018 at 9:04 PM

    Thanks Vivian. I appreciate the hugs 🙂

  3. Debbie Kirsch on August 20, 2018 at 11:23 PM

    Oh boy, do I know that feeling. Chronic pain is just not comprehensible to those who have not experienced it. People can be sympathetic, yes. But it is such a relief talking with someone who KNOWS. You don’t have to explain! I have such a hard time reaching out that way, since the friend who understood gradually withdrew, and for all intents and purposes, disappeared.Anytime you need, call me! Prayers and mental hugs, sent your way.

  4. Karen DeBonis on August 20, 2018 at 11:34 PM

    I know you know, Debbie. You’ve known for a looong time about chronic illness. The hardest part is when people pull back; I’m sorry that’s been your experience. Thanks for the hugs. I’ll be in touch.

  5. PHONEGAL52 on August 21, 2018 at 9:36 AM

    Karen, I am sorry that you are battling health issues. I will keep you in my prayers.  It appears that no matter what you are going through you always see a brighter side. You are an amazing person and for all you have been through you just keep shining. 

  6. Karen DeBonis on August 21, 2018 at 11:25 AM

    Thanks for the comment and prayers, Michele. I can’t say that I always shine, but I try to remind myself that the bad hours or days won’t last forever. The sun WILL rise again. That keeps me going. That, and support from friends like you 🙂

  7. judy lawless on October 1, 2018 at 10:05 PM

    Wow, reading these comments, I’m amazed to know how many other women there are out there suffering from chronic pain, and trying to just carry on through the bad days and enjoying the good days. I too am among them. Hugs.

    • Karen DeBonis on October 2, 2018 at 9:32 AM

      Hugs to you, too, Judy. Sadly, I think the chronic illness community is growing. Who knows if it’s environmental toxins, food sources, better diagnostics and awareness, or all of the above, but we are huge in numbers.

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