One thing you will learn relatively quickly when dealing with chronic illness is that there will always, always be someone who is too ignorant to understand. The good part is, these people usually stand out like a sore thumb by using phrases like “but you don't look sick...”. The amount of times a person dealing with an “invisible” illness hears phrases like this directly relates to the amount of patience they have when this occurs. Understandably, being sick and unable to do simple things you've spent your whole life doing is incredibly frustrating. Adding on the frustration that occurs when an outsider thinks looking fine on the outside means you're magically cured and/or are imagining the whole thing? Well, it's no wonder I've developed an eye twitch.
The easiest, and most efficient, way I've developed for dealing with ignorance concerning my illness is quite simple – do what my mother has always told me to do, and simply ignore them. Who knew mom actually knew what she was talking about, right? Now, if any of you are similar to me and the very idea of ignoring someone so coldly seems too far fetched for you, then do your absolute best to focus on something happier, funnier, or even more logical than whatever may be coming out of the mouth of ignorance. For example, I think of the spoonie community and all of the memes passed between us about individuals just like this one, and laugh to myself a little.
See, the crazy part is, most of these people don't even realize just how simple minded they sound. Most of them are even convinced they are doing, or saying, nice things to us and helping us in some way. I do my best to forgive each and every person that puts me, or my illness, down in some way. Sure, some take a lot longer than others, but I always try to remind myself that none of those people can relate to the life I have to live now. The best they can do is try to imagine what I might be experiencing, and even that is often asking for too much. Ask yourself, if you were the healthy person in this situation, would you react differently, not knowing what you know now?
No matter what the situation is, illness or not, looking at the bigger picture will always benefit you. Always. Unfortunately, I can pretty much guarantee you will continuously hear the most aggravating things from the most unsuspecting people. They will constantly tell you that you don't look sick because they just don't know what they're looking at. They will always try to suggest things that seem so obvious to you but so crucial to them – stuff like, 'just get more exercise', or 'change your diet'. As if this thought never could have ever been fathomed in our own minds without their insistence. These are the very situations that will develop your patience. So, if nothing else, thank them and leave it at that. Neither of you may realize it at the time, but it is through these learning curves that we are able to develop ourselves deeper than we originally thought we were capable of. Someday you will realize just how much all of those snide little comments helped you blossom into the beautiful person you are becoming. Until that happens though, feel free to Google chronic illness memes and laugh to yourself, while also finding strange comfort knowing someone out there completely gets you and what you're going through. And hopefully, they too are laughing.
Rest easy spoonies.