While I have gotten some recent compliments about my quarantine beard, my rugged handsomeness is not really what I'm talking about here.
Through the years there have been multiple instances in which doctors, friends, family, and others underestimated the extent of my digestive issues - because I “looked” OK.
I remember going to my pediatrician and sharing with him how frequently my stomach hurt. He looked me up and down and in all his medical knowledge, declared “well you’re taller than me, you don’t look sick!” Thanks.
My parents, while concerned about my complaints, fell in line with the doctor when he said to take a children’s aspirin when it hurts. Thanks again.
My football coach had no mercy when I looked like I should be able to bench press more but I let the bar drop on my chest in extreme fatigue. Thanks, coach.
The Gastroenterologist telling me my condition was unrelated to worry and stress as I began to deteriorate. Welp, here we are.
There are lots more instances I could share about people assuming I was healthy while I was suffering. I’m not blaming them necessarily as often it was me covering up my health issues, or minimizing them, so as not to worry the people I loved.
The ability to hide our health issues, or simply not look like we are suffering, is often a coping mechanism on our part and can be detrimental or even dangerous not to share.
When people are unaware of our misery, it can be a reminder that our ability to “fake it” and come across like everything is OK shows that we are more powerful than we otherwise believe. Unfortunately, it’s not the right approach to heal from any health issue. Support for this journey, especially if you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s, Colitis, or IBS, is critical.
Friends, family, doctors - yes, all the people that might have overlooked your pain are exactly the people to share your issue with. You might be surprised at their genuine concern for you.
And, if you need someone to guide you back to health from digestive issues, to help figure out what foods are right for you, and to get your life back - I’m your guy!