During my crazy/beautiful health journey, I have been told on numerous occasions, “You don’t look or act sick.” I have two thoughts on this statement.
For me, this statement gives me an opportunity to share about a prayer God has continued to answer during my crazy/beautiful health journey. Let me explain.
When I got sick again in 2009, I prayed that God would help me never look or act sick. I know that sounds like a crazy prayer when you are dealing with several life threatening health issues. But that was my prayer. During some of my worst days, I still laugh when people tell me, “You don’t look or act sick.” It is another opportunity to share what God is doing in my life. I am thankful God decided to answer a crazy, little prayer years ago.
With that said, there is another side to the “You don’t look sick” comment. It is one that many of my fellow patients deal with each day. The comment is actually insulting. Let me explain.
When you tell someone they don’t look sick, they translate that to “You must be faking or it’s really not that bad”. I have actually had people asked me if I was faking my health issues. Yes, I love spending hours at the doctors offices and days in the hospital. Also, what do sick people look like? News flash, not all sick people look alike.
People dealing with chronic or terminal illness have good days and bad days. A person can look fine on the outside, but is dealing with extreme pain inside. Most of us with long term health issues have learned to put on our “Happy Face.” We feel obligated to do so. We need to go to work, take care of our families, and try to live our best lives. Plus, do people really want to hear the truth about how a sick person is actually doing? My experience in that area is mixed. I am blessed by the family members and friends who actually want to know the truth. Do not let those caring folks go.
So what should you say? Here are some better options.
How are you truly feeling today?
How can I help?
I am sorry your not feeling well.
I am sure that sucks.
How can I pray for you? Then actually pray for that person.
This post is not about gaining your sympathy. I neither want or need it. My hope is that you will gain insight from reading this post. A lot of people are dealing with invisible health issues, but their pain is real. ~OC