The Mask We Show Others #AtoZChallenge
Chronic illness often forces us to create a mask that we show to others. This mask allows us to hide behind it and not to reveal the true nature of how we feel on a given day. Why would we do this you ask? Well, let’s delve into that and see if we can shed some light on the topic, and the mask itself as well as what we may be hiding with it.
Regardless of how great a support system we have, we tend to hide the worst of what we are feeling to one degree or another. We try to protect those closest to us from the depths of our suffering. We may feel as if we are a burden to them, and as such decide to attempt to shield them from how horribly we really feel. We may be concerned that they are beginning to feel as if everything in the relationship (whether parental, sibling, or significant other) revolves around us. We may even feel that they would be better off without us in the aspect that they could return to some semblance of a normal life.
Regardless of your reasons, we all put on a mask at some point and for some people. I often wear a mask for the simple reason that even the most caring of friends and family must surely get tired of seeing the pain on my face or hearing how I feel as if my body has betrayed me that day. While those of us battling chronic illness have our own set of unique problems, those that care about and for us have an entirely different set of problems.
I am neither condoning nor condemning the use of a mask. I am simply pointing out that each of us will likely use a mask at some point in our battle with chronic illness. Whether we simply say “I’m tired” when what we really want to say is “I hurt so bad I can’t even begin to explain it to you”. I won’t digress into the pros, cons, or reasoning for or against the use of masks. for that is way beyond the scope of this short blog post. What I can tell you is that nearly everyone with whom I have ever come into contact uses a mask at some point and to varying degrees.
I, myself, am guilty of using a mask at times. I find myself doing this with both friends and family. If you have an invisible illness then I am willing to bet that you also make use of a mask at times. This is much more likely on the days where you may outwardly look well, but on the inside feel horribly beyond what words can even begin to describe. And you likely get tired of trying to explain the disparity between what you look like and what you feel inside.
Do you have a story to share with us about your use of a mask? Who do you show your mask to? We would love to hear it in the comments below!