Miss Understood: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Miss Understood: It’s Not You, It’s Me

We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s not you, it’s me.”

It’s used during break ups, movie scenes, or the end of a friendship to try and soften the blow. Sometimes it’s used as a joke or sarcasm when giving the other person your reason for calling it quits.

Arlene Grau

Arlene Grau

Lately, I’ve used that term in my everyday life more than I would wish to.

Every week I have my chemotherapy treatments on Fridays and like clockwork my body goes through several different stages. First I become sick to my stomach and soon begin to vomit. Headaches follow, until I’m finally so drained I sleep for what feels like days.

My mood changes and I can go from crying to complete anger without a cause in a split second. I’m not mad at anyone except my body for making me sick, but I always make my husband suffer the most.

After more than three years together he knows it’s not the real “me” talking. It’s the medications, the diseases, and the side effects.  I’ve apologized so many times I think he’s lost count, but he knows it really isn’t anything he’s done. It’s me.

I don’t know how to control what the treatments do to me. I become someone I don’t know, and hate myself for being so weak, sensitive and vulnerable at times.

When I go through these stages my bedroom becomes my safe haven.  I refuse to be seen by anyone besides my family. The few times I’m around others they see me as being anti-social, because I would rather keep my head down on a table as opposed to talking to them.

But it’s not them, it’s me.

How do you explain to people that every week you’re going to become a different person who can’t be controlled? For just those few days I’d love to be anyone else, because at that time I hate my body and the fact that its let me down.

It’s no one’s fault that I’m sick. It’s no one’s fault that I have to go through these treatments, and it’s no one’s fault that my medications are slowly killing me.

But I want to blame everyone else because they aren’t suffering with me. I want others to feel what I feel for just one day so they would stop avoiding me.

The person who wants these things isn’t me. It’s the disease.

I often write about the difficulties, pain and dark side of auto-immune disorders. But I think I may be giving people the wrong idea of myself.  I’m extremely happy with my children, husband, and those I consider my real friends.  But pain is not rainbows and butterflies, so I want people to see and hear that there is a different world of people walking around with them. It could be a neighbor, sibling, or a complete stranger. But we do exist.

Show compassion instead of judgment, kindness instead of a cold shoulder, and support as opposed to your back. We may be having a rough day or you may have caught us when our pain is heightened, but it’s not something you’ve done. Sometimes we can’t control our body, thoughts or emotions.

Just remember that deep down inside is the real us. Just take the time to weed out the medical side effects to find it.

Arlene and girlscropped1Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California with her family. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

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Thank you for understanding and for your great advice. I guess the hard thing is I USE to be the fun grandma, the one who let the kids come and have slumber parties and I would make special treats. Since I have been single their whole life I did everything with them. I was the one at Disneyland who would ride the Merry-go Round with my three year old granddaughter while the bigger kids went on the other rides. I let them spray me with water in the summer, let the girls do my hair and make-up. Play Legos with my grandson and now just picking them up from school is so hard on me. I wonder if when I pass will they only remember my sick times or will they remember the fun person I once was. I still try to make special times with them, but it is just not the same. Like everyone I miss my old self. I don’t even like me any more. I need to find a way to just accept that this is the way my life is now and just find joy when ever I can. I am not one to give up easily and I am not ready to throw the towel in yet. Thanks for being here for me, I know what I say is confusing….have a good day everyone!

arlene Grau

I am so sorry you had a hard day, but I think all we can really do is try to educate those we love and let them know some days we may not seem like ourselves. I’m sure if you have a heart to heart with your grandson he will understand that that’s not who you really are and that you love him no matter how bad your day is going. That’s something he will always remember. Best wishes
Thank you for the support.
Thank you, Im only as great as the people as I surround myself with and that means you too!


Arlene you are one of the greatest women I have ever known. It is an honor to call you my friend.

This is so heartbreakingly honest. My husband says he remembers me going on a business trip and then I was in bed for two years. I barely remember those two years. But he stayed. Thanks for saying it straight out.


Your words really touched me today. Yesterday I overdid by picking up my grandkids, got stuck in traffic, they were hungry took them to get something to eat and what was suppose to be 30 minutes was over 2 hours. I won’t take my pain medicine when I am picking up the kids, so on top of it I felt like their was a bomb of fire and pain inside my body it was going to explode. I felt like smashing the wall or hitting the pillow. My precious 15 yo grandson said I am sorry grandma that this is so hard on you. I cried myself to sleep! Is this how he will remember me? My life right now is so out of control and I am in such denial about it all. Thanks for sharing as it made me understand that I am not alone and their are so many people that suffer and have it way worse than I do. I feel I need an attitude adjustment yet I don’t remember any women having natural childbirth having someone tell them you need to change your attitude. But I had my children natural and what kept me going I knew it was going to be over, I just turned 59 and I still can remember that feeling when the baby comes out and the pain stops and the euphoria sets in and you feel like a million dollars. I never feel happy anymore as it never stops. Again, I know many have it way worse than I do but today I feel like I am alone and their are no one out there to just hug me. I do have my dogs and they love me so much. Thank you for just letting me tell my truth. Bless you all!