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My Eureka Moment That Convinced Me to Stop Hiding My Illness

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I’m a pro at hiding my pain, my illness. I’ve had a lifetime of practice. Other people are often uncomfortable, unsure of how to act, what to say, around someone who is not well. So, I’ve learned to camouflage my pain. In some ways, I hide it for selfish reasons as well. I want to feel normal. I want to be treated like everyone else. I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want to talk about my illness or about how much pain I’m in. I want to escape it, when I’m out in public. I want to pretend it doesn’t exist.

But, I am a silly human. It hurts, emotionally, when people don’t understand just how ill I am. When they don’t understand why I can’t work. Why I have to cancel so many plans. Why my house is a mess. I’m hurt when they say “you don’t look sick.”

So, I had a eureka moment the other day. Of course they don’t understand! Of course they don’t get how severe my illness and my chronic pain is. I’m doing everything in my power to hide it from them! How could they ever possibly know just how bad it is?


It’s my own fault. I can’t have it both ways. I can’t build a brick wall around me and then be hurt by the fact that no one can see through it. They aren’t being insensitive. I’m being unreasonable. I can’t blame someone for not seeing what I’m purposefully hiding.

It’s time for me to be more open, if I want people to truly understand. It’s time for me to stop hiding, if I want people to truly see.

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Thinkstock photo by Tishchenko

Originally published: May 27, 2017
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