You know the famous saying “fake it till you make it.” Well that’s kind of the motto people with chronic illnesses live by. First, let me clear one thing up. I’m talking about faking being well. Why someone would want to fake being sick and having to sit in a wheelchair is way beyond me. I would do pretty much anything to have my old life back.
There are days that I feel awful. I’m fighting a migraine that’s about to hit, my POTS is all over the place, as in heart rate is about 110 even while I am sitting and goes even higher when I stand, my temperature is 102, and my joints are warm, red, and swollen. I have gone to work like this, to doctor appointments, etc. My reaction time may be a little slower, and I may be talking quieter, but I was faking feeling good. I would laugh at a joke, cheer someone on, lie and say I feel fine.
This week after reading Part 2 of Own Your Everyday by Jordan Dooley, it hit home with me. We do so much to please other people instead of owning our own day. I fake how sick I actually am quite a bit for several reasons. I want to enjoy life – I don’t want to go through each day bitter and upset. I also don’t want people worrying about my health and I don’t want to scare people. Plus sometimes it is so much easier to say I feel fine because that’s a short answer and you don’t have to elaborate anymore so on days where my energy is winding down, that’s my go to answer.
You take a look at my social media pages like Instagram for example and all you see is me smiling and usually standing with my walker. Let me break this down for you. I stand for a quick photo then I go right back inside and usually lay down. I smile because I want to focus on the good things of my day. I don’t want my feed filled with me laying down on the couch, or my bed with no smiling. I don’t think anyone would want to spend 3 years or more of their life showing people how they truly feel which is miserable. I would much rather spend it by enjoying all the little moments and joys of the days, smiling and being kind. Life is so short and the next day is never promised. I am going to be sick everyday for the rest of my life, so somedays I really can’t fake it and I post old photos on Instagram or I just don’t post that day. I usually stay off social media if my migraine is so bad because of the lights. I know a lot of people don’t have a chronic illness, so you might be thinking why would someone fake being well, why not just be honest. I will compare it to depression. Do you go around everyday and post on social media every single day how depression looks or how depressed you are? Not going out to things, posting photos with no smile, working with no emotions except sadness. I too have depression and while my medicine has helped tremendously there are some days where I feel it more. I may be very honest in the fact that I might say today was a rough day but I still show up and usually just put it behind me and focus on the day. (I do talk about depression honestly on my feed or stories but not every single day – if you are struggling please reach out to me, a friend, a family member or a doctor, depression is a very serious issue.)
So yes, I do “fake it till I make it” but somedays I can’t fake it and those are the days you don’t see. Those days are spent at home usually in the dark , sleeping , resting , and loading up on hydration. It is ok to fake it sometimes. I have to in order to get out of bed. So many days it would be easier and my body would appreciate it if I didn’t fake it and stayed in bed all day every single day. Is that my reality though? No. Do I want to do that? Maybe somedays, but day after day? No.
I could guarantee if there was a poll out there you may be surprised at how many people “fake” being well for a day. So while it may appear that I am feeling fine or feeling better I may actually be feeling terrible, but I just want to enjoy this day so I put it “behind” me and focus on what’s good. Like this picture below- behind this smile is a temp of 101, hives from allergies, TMJ jaw pain, pain all over, joint pain, dry eyes, high blood pressure, dry mouth, headache, and so on… do you see what I mean? I choose to smile even though I feel miserable.
“God is within her, she will not fail.” – Psalm 46:5