What does sick look like? Does sick even have a look?
This is a question that I’ve heard all too often, and yet I’m still confused every time I hear it. Unfortunately, it is not until I am in the hospital or experiencing inflammation or a lupus flare that I apparently “look sick”. But why is this?
Over the last few years, I have used this question as fuel for me to normalize “masked” diseases for the public. There are times when this comment is made as a compliment, but there are other times where this comment is made based on external experiences. We must continue using our voices and platforms to educate the public.
Not to mention, as we meet newly diagnosed patients, we can also prepare them for this question or comment. As time passes, I don’t believe hearing it makes it easier to deal with, but I do believe embracing it energizes the desire to continue advocating.
How do you explain your illness when you’re asked this question? Do you feel a need to explain? Do you ignore the question?