To the Stranger Who Called Me a 'Liar' When I Posted My Doctor's Advice

You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. I try not to judge because I hate being judged, which is exactly what you did to me today. However, I’ve formed an opinion about you (and not a good one) because of what you said to me. You called me a liar. Quite literally.

I wrote an anonymous post about how I wanted to go for a run but didn’t have Gatorade, so I couldn’t go since my doctors told me to drink that instead of water. You said, “A doctor would never say that. You’re a liar.” But here’s the thing: You don’t know me, and I’m assuming you aren’t a doctor or nurse. My reply was sarcastic and something I’m not proud of, but I told you, “I’m so glad you know everything. I should listen to you instead of my doctors.” I also explained my postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) briefly.

I need the electrolytes (specifically the sodium) in the Gatorade to keep me hydrated. My blood pressure remains low, which can cause my heart to beat too fast when I’m standing upright, and exercising like that, especially running, can cause fainting. I know this because I’ve experienced it. I also know drinking plain water makes it worse. Why? It goes right through me. My body doesn’t hold onto it, and it flushes the little salt I have straight out of my system. So yes, I needed the Gatorade before I could run.

I wanted you to understand you don’t know everything. You don’t know my life, my diagnosis, my challenges and my doctors. I don’t expect you to know, but I do expect you to not make judgments about me before you know.

A simple question like, “Why can’t you just drink water?” would have been much nicer, and I would have been a lot more willing to explain. After being judged time and time again, I’ve learned there is often much more to people’s lives than meets the eye. This means you can’t assume anything. What you see on the outside is not what my reality is.

You can’t see every muscle wound tight to hold all of my joints in place, causing severe pain and fatigue. You can’t see my veins stretching too much in my legs, causing all my blood to sit there instead of my brain as I’m standing and walking. You can’t see the headache I have. I always have a headache, and I can’t tell you the last day I was headache free.

You also don’t see the 20 bottles of medications and supplements I have to take daily to try to feel decent enough to get out of the house or even just out of bed. You don’t see the drawer full of all the braces I have accumulated over the years to be prepared for the next dislocation. You don’t know I’ve been “advised against” having kids. You can’t see the psychological toll it takes on me, knowing I’ll never have the life I wanted.

I’m not a liar, but you may be too quick to judge and need to consider what could be going on in somebody else’s life before you judge them.

You don’t know everything, and it’s OK that you don’t know. People have such a problem admitting they don’t know or don’t understand, but it’s really OK. There is so much information in the world that it would be impossible for us to know everything.

The Mighty is asking the following: What is a part of your or a loved one’s disease, disability or mental illness that no one is aware of? Why is it time to start talking about it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

When I Discovered What POTS, Astronauts and I Have in Common

When I was younger, the first thing I ever wanted to be was a taxi. No, not the taxi cab driver, but the actual taxi cab. The vehicle. I blame my mom because she always told me I could be anything I ever wanted to be — which I guess included inanimate objects.   I [...]

To the Lady at the School Front Desk Who 'Saw' My Chronic Illness

To the lady at the front desk, In general, walking can be a struggle for someone with a chronic illness like postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Walking into the airport to get on a plane to get to a hospital hundreds of miles away for a doctor’s appointment I had been waiting months for was [...]

When I Feel Like I Don't 'Do Enough' as a University Student With Chronic Illness

I am sitting in a meeting for a club at my university — a new club that I have just decided to try. I do what every university student does and buy into the line that teachers always tell you: “It will look good on your resume.” Does it look good on the resume? Who [...]

What I Didn't Know About Invisible Illness Until My Daughter Became Ill

I didn’t know what invisible illness was: a condition that consumed our lives and shaped our path that no one else could see.  I didn’t truly know what an invisible illness was until my daughter Molly couldn’t stand, couldn’t go to school and was suffering silently, alone, invisibly. When she musters the strength — knowing [...]