themighty logo

I'm Not Fine, I'm Functionally Ill

How sick do you have to be to be considered “actually sick?” I have spent over a year of my life suffering from sporadic periods of illness and pain, which are unwelcomely accompanied by an endless amount of unjust misconceptions, assumptions, and accusations.

I can see how my smiling face, full-time job, and the way I portray myself on social media can be perceived, but just because I put on this charade doesn’t mean I’m not sick. If you look closer you’ll see the fatigue in my eyes, the days of missed work due to flare-ups or doctor appointments, and the desperate searching for hope and a healthier life hidden in my “positive” Instagram posts.

The fact of the matter is, regardless of the relentless pain and illness I experience, I will feel misunderstood. Especially if I don’t “look” sick. I can’t fully blame people for their presumptions though. It’s human nature to judge by what we see and I make the decision to present myself as fine. But fine does not mean sleepless nights, nausea spells, vomiting episodes, sharp pains, doctor appointments, ER visits, and a growing pile of unpaid healthcare bills. I’m not fine, I’m functionally ill and I think a lot of people with chronic illnesses are like that. We’ve adapted, but that is on an entirely different spectrum than getting better.

My point is that you can’t assume someone is OK based on their public demeanor and appearance. If you know someone who has a chronic illness, please remember this.

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

Thinkstock Image By: Zoran Zeremski