Fighting in Silence

IMG_0099“It’s hard to explain to someone who has no idea. Feeling pain and sickness on the inside while looking fine on the outside.”

Here is a shout out to all the people that suffer in silence and fear of the illness that strips your inner body of health but doesn’t show on the outside. For 12 years I have fought an autoimmune disease called lupus. It has been over shadowed by my diagnosis of Cancer 11 years ago. What most people don’t understand is Lupus actually saved my life. It was the diagnosis of Lupus that sent up red flags for my Breast Cancer. Hard to understand and hard to comprehend but that is exactly what happened. Everyday my body fights its self. Lupus and Cancer duking it out in my body like a boxing match. What most people don’t understand is I look fine on the outside. Minus my hair from chemo, I get up, I get dressed, and I go on with my everyday life. I never step outside the house without make-up and I always manage a smile. What I find humorous is having to write this because of the things that have been said to me, ”You look fine.” You look like you feel good” “You don’t even look sick” Well excuse me, how does a sick person look? I’m just wondering so the next time I walk by a sick person I can put a mask on my face as not to catch what ever they have.

We are a nation of what you see is what you get. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have met many people that fight silent battles that most know nothing about. A good friend of mine fights depression to the point of complete bed rest for days. You would never know when she is in public because she looks like a supermodel when she goes out of the house. We are so quick to look at someone and guess that their life must be amazing and they must have it all by the way they look and present themselves. I assure you most people are smoke and mirrors. They fight battles silently and are not on the Forbes list.

We are all guilty of looking at someone and concluding they must have it all. What we fail to forget and understand is everyone is fighting a battle. Wether it is not liking what they see in the mirror or on the scale or in their bank account. We all fight with demons and we are all our own worst critics. What we don’t have to be is someone else’s critic. We shouldn’t judge without knowing someone first. Maybe the blanket statements we make should be in the form of a question. How are you feeling today? Instead of, “You must be feeling good because you look good.” I have now been backed into a corner with that statement and have no other choice but to say thank you. I sure as hell am not going to say,” Yeah I look great but feel like shit.” Perhaps we should just say that, people would then stop making arbitrary comments that make us agree to statements that are untrue. The worst thing you can do to a person is make them feel as if they have to prove how sick they are. We already fight with our bodies why should we feel like we need to fight for people to understand just because we don’t look sick. We are exhausted from trying to be stronger than we feel.

I read a quote that rang so true I burst out laughing,” I’m in therapy to learn how to deal with people that should be in therapy,” After a 12 year battle with illness I have had many things said to me, but none as hurtful as “You look fine so you must be fine.” We are all guilty of making snap judgements and putting our feet in our mouth but lets make more of an effort to be kind to one another and get to know each other before making statements that really hurt. I am not the only one that is trying to survive in a body that wants to destroy them. It isn’t easy destructing from the inside out. Lets make a promise to each other to be respectful of each others feelings. The best apology is changed behavior.

“If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.- Marvin J. Ashton

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