When you're in the court system, you're innocent until proven guilty. When you're in society, you're healthy until proven sick. And a lot of the time, the sickness is not easy to prove – even doctors don't want to believe you.
But what's almost worse is when you know you're sick and everyone around you doesn't believe it. They don't believe that you have an illness or that you're in pain 24/7. They don't believe that you're going through something that they can't possibly understand – simply because they have never been through it themselves. Most people in this world tend to believe that nothing bad can happen to them until it already has – and this is often extended to their friends and family. A loved one can't be sick because they aren't sick. They don't understand it, so it can't be true.
So in their state of disbelief, they make comments. They tell you how to better yourself. They tell you how to fix your problems so that you can be healthy again. As if it's as easy as hoping for it. They tell you it's all in your head. So you start to retreat. You pull back. You stop telling people the problems. You stop telling people the truth. And you start to fake being healthy. For their sake. Because they can't seem to handle the truth.
But this isn't always as easy as it seems. So I've compiled a list of tips for you. Tips for how to fake being healthy. I hope they are of use to you, as they have come to be my lifestyle.
Tell Them NothingGiphy
That's right. They don't really want to know. Think about all of the horrific crap you've been through. Would you want to know if you hadn't had to go through it? Trust me. Don't tell them. It'll just be easier this way.
Answer Their Questions
If you have an illness that causes you to gain weight, people will often ask why you aren't taking better care of yourself. They will suggest healthier diets and different apps and programs that you can join to help become a "better and healthier" you.
So don't just stay silent. Answer their questions, sometimes. Tell them whatever happens to you is directly a result of the world's karma punching you in the stomach for not eating a salad for lunch.
But what's that you say? What if your illness causes you to lose weight? Well that's a completely different ballpark. In fact, people won't tell you to eat healthier (unless you tell them you're in pain – so remember tip #1: don't do that). Instead, they'll tell you how great you look! Awesome, right? No. Not awesome. You're in pain and wanting to die. What's awesome about that? To them? Well, they just want to know what your diet plan is. So go ahead and tell them. Personally, when I'm being asked, I love to watch their reaction to my truth: "I sit at home on the couch all day and eat cheese, ice cream, and bread, because unhealthy foods are the only thing not causing me pain."
In the off chance that I've actually slipped from tip #1 and have told people about my illness, they sometimes have the nerve to follow up with a, "I wish I had your illness so I could lose weight, too!" This is where the next tip comes in.
Don't worry, you read it correctly. If you get any of the comments like those from above, it'll take nearly everything you have in you to not punch someone. My suggestion is that you go home and scream into a pillow. A lot less damage is done this way; although, it might not be as much fun. That being said, it'll be a lot easier if you just walk away without even a word in response. They don't deserve a response, and it's not your job to educate the ignorance out of people.
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In case you ignore tip #3, stand there and nod. Adding more fuel to the fire isn't going to help anyone. If you haven't figured it out by now, they just aren't going to get it – so quit trying. The truth is just too much to bear for them. Forget the fact that you're the one going through it. It's clearly too much for them to simply hear it.
Find Others Like You and Vent
I can promise you this much: you are not alone. It might feel that way, but I promise you that there is at least someone out there going through something somewhat similar that can relate to you. So reach out and find them. Because talking to people who don't get it is exhausting and not worth your time. And your illness is exhausting on its own – you don't need to add to that. So give yourself a break and find someone to vent to about all of the awful people in the world who think they're helping, but are really just making it all so much worse.
Take a Nap
And when you do get completely exhausted? Cancel everything. All of your plans. That class you had to attend? Forget it. That dinner you had to go to? Don't bother. That thing you had to help that person with? There's no point.
Sleep. Take a nap. Cancel your plans. Forget about the world and take care of yourself. Because no one else is going to.
Tell Everyone You're Fine
Now, in all honesty, I hope you do actually have some people in your life who will get it and understand and truly be there for you. But it definitely won't be everyone, so tell the majority that you're fine. Get them off your case. Tell them they have nothing to worry about, because their version of worry looks a lot like giving unwanted advice that you can't walk away from fast enough. And it just takes too much energy to explain to each and every one of them why their advice is bad.
Ignore Their Advice
For those that throw their advice in your face, please ignore it. Every word of it. You should know your body best at this point. You know what you can eat and what you can't. You know what makes you sick and what doesn't hurt. Ignore their tips and tricks. Because if you listen to them, it's a short trip to falling into the vast abyss. Don't fall. Don't lose yourself. Don't listen to the people who don't get it.
Tell Yourself You're FineGiphy
They more you say it, the more you'll believe it – right? I'm pretty sure that's how that works.
So try to tell yourself you'll be fine. But more emphatically than you tell other people. Try to convince yourself. Try to feel fine. Try to have some hope that you will one day feel better. Because sometimes, hope is all we have.
When all else fails? Hide. Hide from the world. Hide from the pain. Hide from yourself. Remember the game hide and seek when you were a kid? Nothing felt better than tricking everyone, right? Nothing felt better than having the prime hiding place that no one can find. So find your place. And hide.
If you've read this far you can tell that this took on a bit of a satirical tone. It's not easy to be in pain every day – or to be sick every day. And it's not easy having to be the one to educate those around you on the topic. Or to expect them to get it. Or to hope that they'll understand one day. It's exhausting. And it's not fair to you.
So while this post has been about how to hide that you're sick, and how to fake being healthy, I leave you with one ultimate tip: Take Care of Yourself. Rest. Take time off. Confide only in those you can trust. But don't keep everyone at arm's length. You need someone in your life. Don't push them all away. You are not alone in this. I promise.