I call myself a “chronic patient”. I live in doctors offices. For being a twenty-three year old, I spend way too much time in clinics, hospitals, and urgent care.
Let me break it down. It’s pretty routine. I schedule a doctor’s appointment, sit in the waiting room, get called into the room, get told what new medicines to take, walk out disappointed, pay my co-pay (which is ridiculously high) and drive away.
I would never call myself “the sick girl” until recently.
Before I begin, please know that I am one GRATEFUL young woman. I have all my limbs, all my teeth (except one that I shattered #Blessed), and I’m lucky enough to be alive.
I decided to write this post because I think perception is a funny thing. This past year has been so challenging health wise. There are very few people in my life that know everything or anything about my health. Tonight, I asked myself when the last time I felt “OK” was. I truly can’t remember. Maybe five years ago? A majority of my health has to do with serious panic disorder, heavy depression, epilepsy, and other things I just simply can’t share on the Internet. (Sorry?)
People view me as a happy person. “That girl is ALWAYS smiling.” They see my life through social media and tell me how they wish they were me. Let me tell you: I wouldn’t wish my health on the worst person I know.
Social Media is a funny thing. You see the best of people’s lives. You see the good moments. You see the real smiles, the fake ones, and the in between. Yesterday, someone who was in my life for a long time asked me if I was happy. I told him “Some days I am. Some days I pretend.”
On Instagram, you might see me at the beach. You might see me dressed up. You might see me jumping for joy. But you don’t see me ten minutes later, crying on my floor. You don’t see me fainting. You don’t see me gasping for air, seizing, shaking, or screaming.
I’m what is considered a guinea pig. Trial and error. My neurologist jokes that when he figures out what is wrong with me, I’ll have an illness named after me. No doctor (yet) has figured out why I feel the way I do on a daily basis.
What I’m trying to say is: You have NO idea what goes on behind closed doors, behind the filter, outside of the GOOD that people post. There is so much sad, so much pain, and so much exhaustion. I have a lot of friends who understand where I’m coming from and have been through the same thing. One minute you’re fine, and the next you’re on the floor.
So yeah, when I feel ok, I am going to Snapchat my adventures. I’m going to Instagram the fun time I had earlier in the day. But I’m done apologizing for my health. I’m done. Invisible illnesses are real. Just because I don’t have a cough or a broken arm, doesn’t mean that I’m not sick. You just don’t see the bad.