I’m so tired of explaining to people that my looks have nothing to do with how I am feeling or whether I am actually sick/ ill or not. Time and again I say to people I am not well and hear them say “but you don’t look sick”.
Just yesterday, someone approached me; I was sitting hunched over with my head on a table. “Hi Lyn, I heard you weren’t well”. That comment made it seem like it was in the past so I responded ” I am still not well”. The next response was ” but you don’t look sick, you, look healthy and bright”.
“Looks can be deceiving”, I replied.
You know there’s a book titled “How to be sick”? I thought I should write one titled “How to look sick”.
Now since I can’t write a book overnight, I have done what I am calling “Lyn’s Quick Guide to Looking Sick: All you need to know in one place”.
I should probable say that these steps are guaranteed to get people to believe you are really ill. Try one or all and tell me about results:
- Don’t Smile– Keep your face screwed up all the time. Never wear a smile, only frowns. If you smile people will think that you can’t possibly be sick. It’s a fact! Sick people always frown, that’s all they do apparently. So if you want to convince people that you are actually ill……… don’t smile.
2. Stay at home– This should actually read, never leave your house to go anywhere beside the doctor and back. That is…..no shopping- groceries or otherwise; no conducting business of any type; no work; no driving; no going to the beach or park……… or anywhere else. It’s proven that sick people don’t leave the homes because if you leave you can’t possibly be ill. It would mean that you are faking it because somehow ill and housebound are synonymous (no offense meant to those whose illness leaves them housebound). So just stay at home.
3. If seen walk slowly– There is no way that one can be ill and walk at a regular pace or faster than another person; that is absolutely unheard of! If you are ill as you claim to be it must be manifested in your walk, you must move slowly and with caution (mind you depending on my pain level I do walk rather slow but I’m not sure it makes a difference). People who are not ill walk briskly and get where they are going quickly; the sick ones don’t……. that’s just the way it is. So walk slowly.
4. Cry Often and in Public– Ok, firstly I do cry often when it gets really bad. That’s not what I am talking about though. You need to cry and let loads of people see you crying. If you are actually ill with these chronic and painful conditions, you will be constantly sad……right? Actually, you would be depressed (truth is some of us get depressed and are depressed I know, this is not about those of us).
So someone who is sick cannot be happy and go through a day like any ordinary person without crying. We must cry from the pain and the situation and every and any other random thing. We do this because we are actually ill and that’s what ill people do. Apparently crying often and in public are sure fire signs of being sick………..if its not present we just don’t cut it. Cry in public ……….do it often.
5. Be Disheveled and Unkempt– Friends, this is a biggy. This really is a good indicator of illness. We must be disheveled, untidy………..somewhat not put together. There is no way under the sun that we can be sick and dress well, with everything in place, neatly ironed clothing, hair well done and styled or at least visibly combed. We definitely cannot have make up- even the basics like powder or lip gloss……….that is an absolute no no.
If we are actually sick, all those things will be things of the past. How can I look at someone and say that I am ill and look so amazing in my clothing and everything in it’s place? That’s impossible…………it must be! I must be lying!
This is as far as I have gotten in my “Guide to Looking Sick”. When the other tips come to me I will be sure to share with you all.
Unfortunately, even if I do all these things people will still look at me and doubt every word coming out of my mouth. Its hilarious because if I had to choose an illness to have……….if I had no option of being well but had to be ill and could choose it…………I would probably choose one that people could see manifested somehow.
I don’t like the term “invisible illness” because it makes it seem as if the people are invisible too…………..and I am far from invisible. However, I would choose an illness that was less stress to prove its existence. One that I won’t have to prove that my pain is real and I am not mentally ill.
So, I don’t care if i don’t look sick/ill to those looking on. The way I look on the outside says nothing about the constant turmoil and pain I experience. If you doubt me, that’s ok, just leave me be. I have no time for people who need proof. Truth is, for some they will never sympathize or empathize unless its hits home to them, either they become ill or someone they love dearly. Only then will they believe me and others like me.
That is sad and unfortunate……..but it is the truth.