Thursday, May 7, 2009

But you don't look sick?

For me, the answer I'd like to give to this question/statement varies between two responses.
1. Wow, you don't look stupid either!
2. Really? *take a quick look at myself* Thank goodness, I'm cured!!!

There are many difficulties which come from living with a chronic illness. One of the things which can make it even more difficult though is the lack of understanding from other people. I'm not talking about people who truly don't understand, and whom ask me more about my health, or what it's like to be sick all the time, or how I manage to have such happy twins (Truly blessed would be the answer to that one!). It is the people who do know, or the people who make their own assumptions and stick to them regardless of further information who really get to me. It's the comments my husband fields when attending things without me, the people whom tell me I am looking well in a condescending way which just dares me to say otherwise.

Don't get me wrong. There are kind, loving people in my life whom tell me when I look great, and I love it when that happens because it means I really must be looking well. This is in no way addressed towards you.

On the whole I am an excellent actress. I strive to perfect the role of 'healthy person'. I often attend things with a smile pasted on, looking for all the world just like anybody else. Then I get home and have to sleep the afternoon away just to feel semi-normal again. The thing is, this is the way I want to be. I don't want to be sick, and most of all I don't want to look sick. I mean, it's bad enough I feel icky a great percentage of the time.

One of the things I think many people don't realise is how much guilt comes with being chronically ill. Not only that, but in being a chronically ill Mother. Before I had my twins I thought I'd stay at home as it was my choice. Now I stay at home not only because I want to be here with my babies, but also because I can't work. I probably won't ever be physically up to contributing financially for my family by means of having a full time job. My babies go to a caregiver three times a week so I can rest up and go to doctors visits. I have to rely on the kindness of family members and friends to watch my twins so I can attend specialist appointments outside of that time. Which, having six specialists and weekly GP visits, does happen sometimes often.

So my point really is that for those people whom don't recognise someone as suffering a true illness unless they look really sick (and what does that look like anyway?) or just can't help but see individuals with hidden illnesses as hypochondriacs, Please keep your opinions and judgements to yourselves. Or be prepared for a little dose of sarcasm.

You can't say you haven't been warned ;)


  1. Well written Carla *gives you a round of applause*.

    With chronic illness people all too often assume you should *look* sick too, but often this isn't the case (I can draw some red spots all over your face though ... that'd be fun ;-)).

    I am so proud of your attitude & I know it's not easy for you. I think education is the key, perhaps if people realised how serious cardiomyopathy is their attitude would be different. We're very fortunate that you're a cardiomyopathy survivor, many aren't.

    Love you girlie!! xxx

  2. *Takes a bow* Thank you Kylie :) It was actually our chat which encouraged me to write this, and your comment which inspired my new post! So I actually owe you a round of applause!

    Love you too :)