Chronic Illness 101 – But You Don’t Look Sick 

The old cliche of never judging a book by its cover springs to mind when talking about chronic illness. Many people I know who suffer from a chronic illness don’t show signs of being ill, they still look like themselves. Which is the reason many of us have heard the comment “but you don’t look sick!”

How exactly are we supposed to look? Should we be covered in sores and oozing puss? Should we be grey in colour? Should we have an appendage falling off? Or perhaps having a flashing neon sign that tells you what illness it is we are suffering from?? 

This and “if you get out or exercise, you’ll feel better” are a few of the most annoying statement someone like myself can here. Not only is it patronising but it makes us feel that we need to justify our illness to you, by having a visible ailment that will help you to believe that we are indeed ill. Why can’t you take our word for it?  We don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation. 

So bare this in mind the next time you’re speaking to someone who suffers from a chronic illness but looks fine. We hide a multitude of symptoms behind our smiles, we may look normal and healthy but our bodies can be screaming at us in excruciating pain……..think before you make a stupid comment about whether exercise will make us feel better. Are you a doctor or an expert in the illnesses that person has, no? So keep the comments to yourself. Speak to us like a normal human being. 

Do you have a chronic illness?  What is the most insensitive comment someone has made to you? 

Thanks for reading. 

Nicola J 

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