You know, I’m willing to bet that everyone with an invisible illness has been told “you don’t look sick!” At some point in their life. And here to tell you why that’s annoying is some poor bastard who was diagnosed 18 years ago!
1) The obvious implication of saying “but you don’t look sick!” Is “but you’re attractive!” Now, I love being told I’m hot as much as the next person, but why do people automatically assume that being chronically ill=unattractive? Yo, have you seen me? I’m sick as hell and just as attractive.
2) There’s implication that “Oh, but you look healthy!” Listen. Listen. People that think this way are probably the same ones that think skinny people are healthy. You don’t know what’s going on under that pretty skin. Organ damage? Sure! Insanely high blood pressure? Could be! Pain? Lots of pain??? So much pain??? HELLA.
3) Even people with severe symptoms are good at hiding them. Spoonies have to drag themselves out of bed and go about life every day, pretending to be okay. We’re master actors because we have to be. Don’t assume we don’t feel like hell under our smile.
4) It’s just… invalidating. I was three when I was diagnosed. I’ve never known anything other than “sick.” It’s a huge part of a chronically ill person’s life, and it feels as though people are trying to take that away by saying “you don’t look sick!” I am. And it took a long time to accept it, don’t make me feel bad again.
5) I do look sick. As well as spoonies can act, little things slip out. A grimace of pain, a limp, they way they hold themself. The way their hand shakes, eyes glazed over somewhat. You just aren’t looking.
6) You’re implying there’s something wrong with being sick. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks. There are things wrong with us, hence the sickness. But… We didn’t choose this. We can’t control it. Saying this makes it feel like it’s bad to be born this way, like we shouldn’t have been born at all, should have been born healthy. This one is hard to put into words, but it just… hurts to feel like you shouldn’t exist in the eyes of another, just because of your sickness.
I know I’ve missed some, so feel free to add more! I’d love to hear other people’s feelings toward being told this.