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To Those Who Assume I Feel Good Because I’m Wearing Makeup

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So often we judge a book by its cover. We fail to see beyond what is on the surface. I understand completely that this is human nature. We allow visible signs of pain, discomfort and suffering to serve as our wake-up call. Please for a minute try and put yourself in my shoes.

Every day means pain and suffering for me. The unfiltered truth is it never goes away. I don’t remember what it feels like to be pain-free, and I don’t remember what a life without chronic illnesses feels like. Every morning I wake up and know it will be another day that I have no choice but to fight. One of the hardest parts of a life like mine is keeping a smile on my face through some of the darkest days. I don’t want my illness to be visible to you. I feel that when you can see I’m suffering, it is a sign of weakness on my part. Although, I have noticed that very often my strength and ability to hide those visible signs can backfire on me.

People assume because I may look good, I feel good. People may assume because I look good, I have suddenly been cured of the incurable. People may assume because I look good, I’m not truly going through what I claim. Appearing as if I’m well is something I do to protect people who I come into contact with. It’s my way of hiding the uncomfortable truth from them. When people look no deeper than that “healthy” face, or look too much at my “healthy” face, it can lead to rude remarks. I then face people not believing me and people calling me a faker.

There is one thing most people with chronic illnesses have in common: the ability to hide their pain and discomfort. Just like anything else you face in life, when something becomes your reality, you’re forced to adjust and make the best out of the situation. Please know that even though I appear as if I’m healthy and having a great day, I really may be having the worst day of my life.

two photos of anna evenosky

Today was a rather bad day for me. I hate to admit it, but there are those days when my chronic illnesses get the best of me. You can see in my face I don’t feel well at all. In the top picture on the right, I captured what I looked like before I began those steps to hide the truth of how I feel. Below that is a picture of me less than 20 minutes later. The only difference is that I have makeup on. You might never know how bad I’m feeling if you only saw me appear as I do in the bottom picture. You might think I was happy and healthy. Next time you see a loved one or an acquaintance who you know faces many chronic illnesses, please remember appearance isn’t everything.

Bottom line: Looks can be deceiving. It is more often that you will see my “healthy” face than my ill one. This is because it is more common for me to try to be strong than to get to my breaking point. I would like to challenge you to look deeper than what is on the surface. I don’t want you feeling sorry for me, knowing I never feel as healthy as I look, and that is exactly why I take the time and effort to appear as I do. But prove to me my strength won’t always backfire on me. Show me you believe me, despite my invisible illness being even more invisible. Show you will support me and care for me no matter how I appear. Please let me do me and you do you, with no evidence needed.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us one thing your loved ones might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. What would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: February 17, 2016
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