The “But you don’t look sick” thing has never really bothered me before. I’ve taken it as a compliment really. I think I’m in the minority in that. I have no desire to look as wretched as I feel.
If people are saying it as a dig and implying they don’t believe I’m actually ill, it is of course more frustrating. But how much of a closed-minded dimwit must you be to not grasp that what goes on inside the human body is often not visible on the outside.
If people are trying to undermine or invalidate my life-altering illness, that’s fine. They are giving their own opinion far too much weight if they think that’s going to make me feel like I have to prove how severe my health condition is.
But! It is incredibly problematic when the people saying “The individual looked fine/well presented” is the person who gets to decide whether or not you qualify for financial or social care help. Or if the person saying it has the power to decide whether to refer you to a specialist for a particular health concern.
Since my following has increased as a result of Blue Sunday I’ve noticed that assumptions are being made by the very people who claim to dislike the “But you don’t look sick” thing. People who are also a part of the chronic illness community. It was astounding how many new people, joining in with Blue Sunday, for the first time made assumptions about my health based solely on how I looked that Sunday in May.
You might now assume I’m going to provide a presentation on How Sick I Really Am Even If I Don’t Look It. But a) I don’t have to, b) I shouldn’t have to, c) my energy is better spent elsewhere.
We shouldn’t have to prove anything to the very people who are meant to understand better than anyone that looks can be deceiving.