Written By Vica., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series
Well, you don’t LOOK sick. It’s probably not even that bad.
Living with an illness that isn’t explicit to the eye can be quite challenging, especially when people start to doubt the pain you’re in. It’s like a slap in the face because it took all your strength to even get out of bed that day. For someone to dismiss your pain just because you carry it well. This is something I have had to deal with for many years. I have so many back issues and injuries that it’s hard to even recount a time where I was just “me”.
Live your truth.
Since I don’t wear a cast or am missing an extremity people like to pretend that nothing is wrong. Yes, I am fortunate that what I have to deal with isn’t as extreme as what others go through, but does that diminish my experience? The notion of “Well at least you’re not… or at least you can…” undermines one’s struggle. I recall my senior of High School when I missed 66 days of school. Of course, they were all excused but I had teachers and even friends make implicit remarks questioning if I was really sick. One of my classes laughed when I came back and said they thought I had died (which is soooo not funny). It’s important that people realize this and think twice before they make comments regarding someone else’s health.
Because of this, I often downplay my pain and brush it off as nothing to make other people more comfortable. I recognized this and realized that it is deleterious to my health and am actively trying to break that habit. Sacrificing my well-being for those who don’t really care is not in the cards for me in 2020, nor the rest of my life for that matter.
Unfortunately, the denial of truth is often felt in the medical field as well. I can’t even count how many doctors I have visited and how many times they told me there was nothing wrong. I even had an MRI done in 2016 with results indicating a herniated disk and other ailments and the “treatment” suggested by a physician was to take 2 Motrin. This attitude can be expressed towards all patients but is undeniably present in Black patients. Racial bias in the assessment and treatment of pain is something that stems from false “scientific” evidence made by doctors during the slave trade. They proposed that the Black race or “Negroids” were a different breed of human and felt little to no pain compared to the “caucasoids” or white race. This “science of race” was obviously a means to justify the inhumane treatment of Africans. In fact, a great deal of medical advancements were made because of the experiments carried out on enslaved Africans. Although this view is no longer revered as true, the effects are still felt to this day. A lot of people remain undiagnosed or even end up irreparable damage or death because of the disbelief. It’s way past time for a total change to be had.
The global skepticism of pain isn’t exclusive to physical health but applies to mental as well. Many people struggle every day with anxiety and depression and still make look “fine”. But the mask they wear on the outside covers the true pain felt on the inside. Keeping this in mind, ask your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers, if they’re doing okay regardless if they look fine. Remember, it costs nothing to be nice. Set an example. One small act can inspire many.
– Vica, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series