An Open Letter to those who say "But you look great, you must be better!"
You only see me on the days I have enough strength to push myself outside and force a smile.
Or the days I simply can't miss out on, like my goddaughter's birthday party.
These days are just as much a part of my treatment as my pills are. They bring me moments of laughter and smiles that carry me through all the other days when I'm stuck in bed.
I'll always have a smile on my face, even if it's not "real". I'll always push through the pain especially on days like those.
My question is, where are you all the other days?
Funny thing is, the people who usually say things like that have never seen me on a bad day, or even a "normal" Lyme day. Maybe if you came by on one of those days you wouldn't question my journey so much. Maybe, if you actually saw what a bad day looks like you wouldn't say things like "but you look great, you must feel great!"
I can't blame you though, who really wants to see someone in pain? Who wants to see someone they care about crawling up stairs, stumbling as they walk, and laying their head on a cold counter because it's the only thing that seems to soothe the insane jaw pain. Who wants to see the tears pouring down, the struggle to not give up minute to minute, the memory loss, the mood swings... Who wants to see someone they care about actually live with a chronic illness like Lyme disease?
I don't make it easy either, I've become great at pretending I'm okay... always able to numb the pain down and push through with a smile so no one has to deal with what I have to deal with. But I'm just beginning to realize that helps no one.
Well, maybe that helps the people on the outside, maybe it helps them cope and not fear so much. But it definitely doesn't help me.
Next time you think something like "but _____ looks great, she/he should be fine!" -- try paying that person a visit. Doesn't even have to be a long visit. Just show up with flowers or a card or food or a funny movie.. Or a good book... Or a puppy..
lol jk about the puppy, (kinda).
And if you don't live nearby there are still so many ways you can show that person you are there for them. You can send them card or an email. Send them flowers randomly.. Mail a funny book or movie, order them takeout on a day they share with you that they aren't doing well.
My point is, there are hundreds of ways you can be there for someone. You don't always have to spend a ton of your time, you don't even have to spend a penny. Pick up the phone and call them and just say "I'm here for you. Talk to me."
Trust me, they need it. Even if they say they don't.
ps. if that person doesn't answer, doesn't call back or has to cancel plans.. Please don't take that personally. Please don't let that deter you from trying again. It's really hard to juggle feeling sick all the time & seeing/talking to anyone. The effort put in is what means the most. l