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The Struggle You Don't Realize When You See Me Out and About

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There is a lot you don’t realize when you see me out and about. You may think I’m fine when you see me at the playground pushing my son on the swing. You may think this is an ordinary day for me when you see me at the food store pushing my son in the shopping cart. What you don’t realize is that every step is a struggle. You couldn’t possibly see the stress that sits on my shoulders as I determine how much longer I must stand until I get to my car. There’s no way you can imagine the fear that haunts me as I pray that I can make it through this activity. It is a continuous struggle; a struggle worth having, but a constant fight to push on.

boy sitting in baby swing at park
Lindsay’s son

When you see me out in public, you think this is what I am capable of doing on a daily basis. But you don’t realize that some days I do not have enough strength to be here. You can’t see that my legs are weak and wobbly and that I’m praying through the smile on my face that I can make it.

You also don’t see the rest of my day. You don’t realize that this is my big activity of the day, and that I must rest my body afterwards or I would fall flat on the ground. You don’t see that I couldn’t prepare dinner for my family that evening because I used up all my standing power earlier in the day.

I do not want pity; I just want you to try to understand that when I say I have trouble standing and you see me standing on two legs, it does not mean I have exaggerated. It does not mean that I’m doing well or that my struggle isn’t real. It just means that I’m pushing on and trying to have the most normal life I can despite my distress. And when I decline an invitation because I just can’t make it that day, please invite me again. I will push on through this mess of chronic illness and I will be appreciative of every moment that I make it successfully.

Originally published: October 21, 2016
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