Putting On a Pretend Smile With Chronic Illness
Putting On a Pretend Smile With Chronic Illness – Living with this disease is hard, harder than anything I have ever done in my life. This would include losing both of my parents to Cancer, removing myself from the life of what is the craziness of my sister, being pulled out of my home as a child due to selfish and hurtful people not caring what would happen to me. In other words HARD.
We as chronic pain patients deal with a lot of people that either think that they know what we need to do to “fix” us or just don’t believe us at all. Claiming that we are “attention seeking” or just plain “lazy”. While some of us are not able to leave the house much, besides to doctor appointments or any other appointment (that seems at times to be never ending with any Chronic Illness). But one thing that we all have managed to do is put on a fake smile. There are days where the tears won’t stop running down our faces yet, some how we manage to pretend. We find it within ourselves somewhere to smile.
I know that every morning when I wake up I have to convince myself that it will be a good day. I have to constantly remind myself that throughout the day, otherwise I will just melt into a mess of tears and pain. I deal with people all day that I have managed to keep my illness from (as much as possible). I don’t tell anyone how I really feel, this includes my family (anymore). I pretend to be “normal” at work because what is the point of telling what it really feels like. I don’t see what it would accomplish by really telling them, today is a miserable day. So again I “pretend” that all is good and I smile.
I had a co-worker ask me the other day if I was feeling better. How do you answer that when you never feel good? You “pretend”. Why would anyone want to listen to someone complain all the time? They wouldn’t. If there was an award show for pain patients, we would get the worlds best actors awards. We as pain patients have learned that the only way to get through anything is to pretend. How many times do we want to hear “Are you ever going to get better?” I know that I prefer to not hear that, that is why I have chosen to keep my disease to myself. I know that if I ever did tell anyone how I really feel, how I feel everyday… 24/7, 365 days a year, every minute of every day… I wouldn’t believe me either. I would wonder how anyone could live in that much pain, being that tired, just wanting to have a second of relief and yet still managing to “smile”.
I actually finally answered that question a few weeks ago. My boss came in the office, like he does at least twice a week. I had been to doctors appointments all week, but instead of saying that, I had just said I wasn’t feeling well. He asked “Are you ever going to not be sick?” I looked at him and said “NO, no I am not.” and I left it at that. I never heard a why, or what is the matter. That is the other reason that I think we “pretend” to be okay. We don’t want the questions or like this time, the lack of questions. I don’t tell anyone, anything, unless they ask and then I only tell them the less complicated parts about this disease.
I think we just need to keep talking to each other (people that can relate) and keep putting on that pretend smile with chronic illness, unless they truly want to know. We are tough people and I personally think, we are the toughest people ever made. Just keep on wearing that smile.
We would love to hear from you, have you ever put on a pretend smile with chronic illness? Why?