The following is an awesome post from a SOVA Ambassador, user @Polkadottedblue. Want to read more of what she’s written? Visit her other blog posts, Letting others help, New medication?!?!, and Stuff – A poem. If you are interested in learning more about blogging for SOVA, please see this page for more details!
When you have an illness you have to fake it sometimes. You need to go to work or school, be an active part of your family, hang out with your friends, do fun things, etc. Having a chronic and/or mental illness means that you will often feel depressed, anxious, uncomfortable, or in pain more often than the average person. So, we fake it.
But this can become problematic quickly. Are there consequences to faking it? Are there benefits to faking it? Well here’s what I have noticed in my own life when I fake it.
I expend unnecessary energy
I feel like I am invisible
I sometimes wonder if I am just imagining the pain or if it is not actually that bad
I feel like no one can understand me
I don’t talk about my illness
I don’t let others know how I am doing or give them opportunities to help
I do not seek help
I feel a little bit more in control of my life
I can maintain friendships and do fun things
I get out of the house more and skip fewer classes
I am an example of a person with chronic/mental illness who is still living healthily and happily
I remember that I am more than my illness and it does not define me
As with most things, it is important to find a balance. If you need to fake it for a day, be sure to prepare with self-care and letting a friend know that you have a very big day ahead of you. If you cannot fake it and need a day at home, try to do one productive thing. It is so empowering to complete one daunting task during a flare up because it does remind you that you are strong. If you cannot, then you do not need to feel guilty. You have an illness, and it is not your fault.
Just remember to always ask for help when you need it.
Do not let others pressure you into faking it. If you do not want to go out, then do not go out. But I do remember, very well, the night that my best friend called after she got dumped and we talked for hours, even though I had a terrible migraine. I was so glad that I could support her and I was able to relax and spend time caring for myself the next day. We love our friends and family, and they love us. We want to support them and they want to support us. Find a balance, decide for yourself, and always ask for help when you need it.
In what situations have you had to “fake it til you make it?” How did it make you feel?