When you hear "you don't look like you're hurting"...what do you hear and what thoughts go through your mind? Did you hear "you're faking it"...or "there's nothing wrong with you"...what did you hear? Did you think that the person was passing judgment against you...that they just don't care to understand? I have too at times...and I'm not saying it doesn't happen (we've all heard some terrible things)...but...there is another side to this coin.
As my friend went on to explain to me...I really don't look like I'm hurting. I hide it well. I fight hard for my independence and I don't always ask for help when I need it. I don't talk about my pain a lot and when asked how I'm doing...well the response is always I'm fine...I'm good...or I'm okay. I may admit I'm hurting but I never let on the true depths of what I'm feeling. I hide it well he says...so in the defense of others like him...he says it's not meant as a slight...but as a compliment...it shows our strengths to carry on each day not letting on how we feel and not showing it.
This is a double edged sword in many ways though...I don't like people to see my pain when it's bad and I'm feeling knocked down. I'd rather hide on my own till it's over or I have it under control. I put on a brave face when outside and I smile...I try to be positive with my interactions and I try to live my life as "normal" as I can...but when I do this, it gives a false impression that I'm better than I am. So what do I do? What do we do?
I think this conversation will be an ongoing thing as we work to change how others see our illness and how we see ourselves and how we interact with each other too. Do we smile sweetly and say "I've gotten good at hiding it" or do we ask nicely what the person means by saying it? (maybe it is a compliment.. maybe they have questions...there's lots of maybes here).
I guess what I'm saying is...when you hear "you don't look like you're hurting"...maybe it is a compliment and maybe we shouldn't get so offended by it...and maybe still...this is the time to open up and have an honest talk with those in our lives. They do want to help...they do want to love us...maybe we should let them?
take good care of you eh?