Do You Explain Your Health?

May 21, 2021
Back when I was sick for so long and my symptoms were so unpredictable and crazy, I quickly learned that trying to explain myself to those around me was futile.
Sometimes they would make well-meaning suggestions that made me feel more frustrated. Other times they would tell me what I should be doing that I’m not doing.
The people in your lives can be well-meaning but until someone walks in your shoes and goes through what you are going through they cannot understand.
They felt helpless and powerless when they didn’t know how to support me. I saw that my condition was upsetting the people around me. That made me feel worse because then I felt like I was causing a negative effect on others just by being sick!
The worst part for me was I could not commit to following through with anything because I could never predict my symptoms from day to day!
People in my life started to give up on me and get frustrated. They thought I was flaky. I even had a couple of friends sit me down and do an “intervention” to explain to me that nothing was wrong with me because I couldn’t get a diagnosis. That made me feel invalidated and even worse.
The simplest solution was just to tell people I was really busy with work and I could not commit to this or that because of my work schedule and people were very understanding about that!
I am posting this so that the people who have someone in their life who is sick with an undiagnosed or invisible chronic illness can know that the best thing you can do is be understanding and allow for whatever space they need to make them feel like they are not being a burden on you. Let them know you value them whether they are sick or not and whether or not they can get a label for their health struggles. Invisible illness is becoming the norm. Not being able to get a diagnosis is becoming the norm. It's time we take the "weirdness" off.