Why You Should Be Honest About Your Health Issues


So many of us hide our health issues — I know I did for years. All through high school, my teachers and peers thought I was a slacker for skipping school and a thug for fighting and getting suspended all the time. Nobody ever bothered to figure out why I did those things, why I was so angry and sad all the time and why I couldn’t look anyone in the eye (due to my anxiety).

However, I suppose I can’t really blame them. I mean, how can I, right? I was the one who never said anything to counselors, teachers or even a friend. It took me years until I finally came forward about my illness.

Last year, I had just gotten back to school after being away for dealing with my illness. I thought I was ready, but I kept getting hospitalized. I was supposed to be the group leader for a big project in my English class, which was a fairly hard course. I was also working full time in real estate for about 60 to 70 hours a week, but it was worth it. I kept straight A’s and sold two houses in three months. However, I couldn’t have done so without a friend finding out about my illness.

I had been hospitalized for the fourth time that quarter, and apparently my group was doing a group vote to decide whether to drop me for not pulling my weight. (They had already voted me out as the leader due to the fact I had missed so much school.)

Luckily, my friend in the group told them I was in the emergency room, and she even showed them a picture. When I returned, the new group leader apologized for not understanding what I was going through, and he wished I’d been more comfortable about being honest with him. He told me to keep the group updated about my health, and they would “cover my back” regardless of missing school because they now understood I wasn’t slacking. What I was dealing with was serious and real. I swore from that moment on to be more honest about what was happening to me. I wasn’t going to face challenges alone anymore.

Interestingly enough, the group leader became one of my best friends. It turned out we had far more in common than I thought. It just goes to show you why you have to be honest about what’s happening. It may be hard, but it’s so worth it.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo by Thinkstock Images


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


Related to Ulcerative Colitis

Clorinda Walley - Executive Director of Good Days

Clorinda Walley lives with ulcerative colitis and enteropathic arthritis.
stressed mother of three

4 Tips for Parenting During an IBD Flare-Up

Ulcerative colitis (UC) flare-ups are no picnic. From stabbing pain to sporadic fevers to hours spent in the bathroom curled up in a ball, the typical UC patient experiences on a regular basis what others would describe as the worst illness of their lives. Throw a couple kids and a barrage of responsibilities into the mix, [...]
Young cute happy girl in sweater with deer lying on

Do UC What I See: Ulcerative Colitis and the Holidays

December: a month of rich, hearty meals and dreamy, decadent desserts. From glistening honey baked hams to creamy green bean casseroles to piping hot chocolate in festive ceramic mugs, a food-centric holiday season is a dream to the general populous, but a downright nightmare to a patient of ulcerative colitis or other inflammatory bowel disorders. [...]

12 Tips for Getting Through College With an Ostomy

If you have an ostomy and are either in college, like myself, or getting ready to go off to college, chances are you’ve thought about how you’re going to deal with everyday college life and your ostomy. This won’t be the only article I write in this series, but I thought I’d compile a handy [...]