Tips to Stop Pretending and Live Authentically with Chronic Illness

Once a year for Halloween, we dress up and pretend to be someone else. But when you live with a chronic illness, the pretending happens every day, as we tried to act like everything's better than it is. And it can really mess with your life. This week on RAHealthCentral, I wrote about this pretending and share tips on what you can do to live authentically with chronic illness:

"Pretending to be someone you’re not is not just for Halloween when you have a chronic illness. It’s something we do every day, trying to put a better face on life and how we’re really feeling. We do it because of the stigma of chronic illness. We do it because a bit of daily denial can be a coping mechanism, allowing us to get through the day. And we do it because we want our lives to be about something other than just being sick.

The problem with pretending is that it can take over our lives. There is a fine line between putting on a smile so you can get through the day without explaining your chronic illness to every person you meet and denying your truth, even to yourself.

I did that — made a lifestyle of pretending that I was fine with a capital F. I minimized the amount pain I was in, pretended I didn’t need as much help as I actually did, and pushed myself to do as much as possible on my own, often ending up in a world of hurt because of it. Basically, I spent a lot of time trying to persuade others that despite the visible deformities and using a wheelchair, I was perfectly healthy and able-bodied.

In retrospect, that was probably a lost cause.


Read the full post with tips to stop pretending with chronic illness on HealthCentral.