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My Illness May Be Invisible, but a Picture of Me Can Tell a Thousand Words

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Isn’t it bizarre how a picture can hide so much? How a simple picture can mislead people to believe someone is over-dramatizing their situation? If they are smiling, they must be OK, right?

So many people of all walks of life are slipping past others’ radars because people don’t take an extra second to see if people really are OK.

A picture can be worth a thousand words. Words unspoken, words unseen, words looked past like they are nothing. Why?

woman wearing a coat and beanie outside on a snowy day

The girl in this picture, for instance. Let’s talk about her and let’s reveal all of her secrets that lie beneath the surface of her existence.

That smile is big, bright and beautiful, isn’t it? That smile is something she is complimented on daily. Did you know she’s practiced it in the mirror over and over again until it looked believable to not only everyone else, but to herself as well?

Did you know she’s in pajama clothes 99 percent of the time because pants hurt her even more? She wants so bad to document the one percent through pictures.


Did you know she always has her arms crossed to hide the bruises the IVs caused?

Did you know that behind her fragile mold and brave smile, she is scared?That she constantly questions her worth? That every negative comment from people just chips away at her already fragile self-esteem?

Did you know she critiques every picture she ever takes because she feels like she isn’t pretty?

Did you know she wants so badly to be heard, to be acknowledged? That every failed doctor visit has weighed her down? That she is tired of being stuck in the same four walls every day, wondering if her existence even matters? That she is screaming out but no one hears her?

She feels broken. She feels fragile. She feels scared. She feels weak. She feels sick.

But you couldn’t see all of that, could you? A picture holds a thousand words – if you look closely, maybe, just maybe, you’ll see them.

woman wearing a hat and smiling

I urge anyone who is reading this to look around you. Study people. You’ll learn a lot. Don’t judge, just watch. Realize clothes, makeup and even a smile can hide a lot. People wear their story on their face – do you see it?

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

Originally published: September 5, 2017
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