Why I Feel Like a Fraud After the Outpouring of Support During My Last Health Blip

Three weeks after the brain blip/fart as it’s become commonly known amongst family and friends, I started feeling a bit more like myself. It meant I had the chance to start slowly going through all the cards and flowers I had received. The sheer number was astonishing. I couldn’t believe people were so thoughtful. What made it even more astonishing for me was the range of people who contacted us, from close friends to people who we hadn’t spoken to in months, even years. Never in my life have I felt so loved and cared for.

But at times it made me feel like a fraud. Below is my diary entry from then.

Diary entry, 19 June 2015:

“Something I have found strange is the sadness in many of the messages: ‘So sorry to hear this sad news’ or ‘I hope you and your family are OK at this sad time.’


Maybe I don’t fully comprehend what has happened to me, maybe I don’t appreciate the sadness of it, maybe the sadness will come in time, but right now, I don’t feel sad. I don’t really feel anything negative, just annoyed I may miss out on my holiday and we’ve had a bit of a spanner thrown into the works.

I guess I see it as a bit of a blip, but not really a big deal. I’m not dying. I don’t have an illness that is going to massively affect the rest of my life. I will get better. Sure, I know there are some things that may change – driving, my vision, drinking, roller coasters. But none of that is really life-changing. None of that is a reason to be sad.

I am apprehensive and a little scared about the surgery, whichever option ends up being chosen, but I’m not sad it has to happen. It’s just more of a blip, a pause in my life, which isn’t always a bad thing.

I am frustrated I can’t do the school run, or play with Gabriel properly yet. Yet – I know it’s only short-term. No reason to be sad.

I’m bored being stuck in the house and tired of resting. But not sad.

I don’t want sadness and pity, but the love, support and an abundance of flowers is getting me through the boredom and frustration.

Don’t feel sad for me. I’m getting to spend eight weeks at home with my family… I am resting, coloring in, watching cheesy TV and maybe having a little operation somewhere along the line.

Don’t pity me, I’m happy and lucky and surrounded by love and more flowers than I know what to do with!

There are real reasons in the world to feel sadness that deserve people’s attention and love and support. My dodgy nut is not one of those reasons!”

It’s only recently I’ve started to appreciate how sick I was. At the time I didn’t consider myself to be that ill. Now feeling well again, I can look back and think, actually, I really did feel like shit.

So why do I still feel like a fraud? Sharing this blog has brought up those feelings again. The comments talk of bravery, inspiration, strength. I don’t deserve those comments. There are people out there really battling, really fighting for their life, being much braver, much stronger and much more of an inspiration than me. I’m not fishing for more amazing, wonderful comments – they are always greatly received and appreciated, and make me feel wonderful. It’s hard to explain, I guess I just don’t want to take credit where credit isn’t due, while at the same time not wanting to minimize what I actually experienced!

That said, the response from others to the brain blip is like nothing I have ever experienced before, and it has continued all through this journey. This experience has brought me closer to some people who until this time were at the edges of my life and made me appreciate those closest to me even more. It has made me understand how important it is to show people you’re thinking of them. The smallest gestures can be so important. I’m still pretty rubbish at doing this, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t be! You cannot underestimate the power of knowing you are in people’s thoughts. It brought us such joy and warmth at some of the hardest times. If you take one thing from this post, let it be to tell someone you’re thinking of them.

This post originally appeared on Series of Small Disasters.

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

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

Related to Arteriovenous Malformation

watercolor painting of a woman surrounded by red flowers

Why I Traveled 2793 Miles to Seek Treatment for My AVM

Whether I am studying, going out with friends or sometimes even driving on the road, I will get sporadic nose bleeds that either come to a halt almost immediately or bleed continuously for over an hour. I have also noticed that the swelling and the redness on my face has spread which concerns me a [...]

Lessons I've Learned From Being Born With Arteriovenous Malformation

When I was a child, I would wake up and wish I could somehow vigorously scrub the arteriovenous malformation (AVM) off my face. I always asked a plethora of questions. For example, “Why me?” “Why am I chosen to look abnormal?” “Why can’t I be like everyone else without a malformation?” I’m glad it wasn’t [...]
illustration of two women talking

Debunking the Myth That 'No Two Lupus Patients Are Alike'

As anyone whose life was struck with a sudden, debilitating and permanent illness can attest, there are several stages of coming to terms with life-altering implications of one’s disease. More often than not, its initial onset stirs a period of absolute confusion and a profound sense of aloneness. What is going on with my body? Why [...]
Fireworks in the sky.

Why Fireworks Are Difficult as a Person With Cerebral Palsy

Ordinarily, I forget. I forget about the fireworks. I forget about the sudden bursts of noise. I forget that the Independence Day festivities begin before July 4th and last for days after. I forget about the effect unexpected sensory stimulation has on my jangled nervous system. Every year in early July, I am jolted awake [...]