One of my favorite quotes is “Those with chronic illness aren’t faking being sick. They are actually faking being well.”
We (those of us with chronic health issues) oftentimes will put on a happy face outwardly while actually feeling like we are falling apart on the inside.
Chronic issues leave us overwhelmed in many ways. When we initially experience the onset of symptoms there’s a rush to figure out what’s going on and how to fix them. After months and months of dealing with the stress, exhaustion, and fear of not feeling well, we begin to lose hope.
In the beginning, we may openly share our feelings with family and close friends. However, as long periods of time pass, we tend to go silent and turn inward.
- Many of us don’t want to sound like a hypochondriac.
- Many of us don’t want to worry our loved ones.
- Many of us don’t want people to see us as weak (even though we are some of the strongest people around!).
- Many of us don’t want to admit (out loud) how scary it is.
- Many of us don’t want to bring attention to ourselves and how our lives are changing because of our health issues.
There’s a lot that goes on inside that even those closest to us may not fully understand or know about.
Chronic issues tend to move through cycles of high symptom activity and calmer dormancy. We have our own emotional cycles that we move through as well. There are five stages that we can cycle through over and over again: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
If you are smiling even when you are scared, overwhelmed, anger or any other difficult emotion, know that there are many others, myself included, that do the same.