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A happy-looking man, trying to entertain a baby that is out of frame, is revealed to not actually feel as good as he looks as indicated by the thunderstorm within his torso and lower half of his body. He is kneeling on a floor that is scattered with baby toys.

Pretending I’m Good When I’m Not

Having an invisible illness will make you good at hiding what’s real. Many times, I’ve had to put on a front to not show how miserable I was feeling inside. Heck, I wish I could get paid to pretend I’m fine when I’m not. How cool would that be? I’d probably be extremely well off by now. Nonetheless, I feel at times that I have no choice but to pretend I’m okay when I’m not for the sake of others, and sometimes for myself. But then, I wonder if I’m ever doing myself a disservice by not being true to me and what I’m going through.

I would hide my IBS in college

I used to pretend I was fine when I was in college years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. On “Thirsty Thursdays,” my friends would try to get me to go out with them to a party, but I would decline over and over because I just didn’t feel like participating in things that would either trigger or worsen my symptoms (like drinking and dancing). Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t always being lame or antisocial. I had some pretty memorable experiences in college, as I’m sure we all did. Nonetheless, I remember particular moments when my friends would really try to be convincing by tempting me with the notion of pretty girls being at the party. But, that idea wasn’t always appealing enough, especially if I wasn’t going to be completely myself due to the pain being in the back of my mind. I knew my friends wouldn’t understand and would just make me feel like I was complaining about nonsense or make fun of me. So, I just pretended I had more “important things” to do, like either study for a big exam or I had plans to meet up with a girl, which wasn’t always true.

Sometimes, it’s easier to hide the pain of IBS

Even in more recent times, I’ve pretended that I’m okay when I’m not. Frankly, most times I just have no choice. For instance, I can’t allow my IBS to hold me back from taking care of my son. My son is only a few months old and is dependent on me and my wife for everything. Therefore, I smile and laugh for him, pretending I’m not in pain so that all he sees from his dad is comfort and joy. Also, I pretend like I’m not depressed most days due to my shortcomings. I act like I’m good because I don’t want my family to see or be surrounded by my misery. I can sit here and talk about my belief that everything is going to turn out ok, but sometimes it doesn’t always feel that way, especially when you can’t visualize it at the moment.

I’m usually a very positive person and I try to convey that through my articles. However, as I mentioned before, I’d be doing myself a disservice if I just pretended as if things were always positive and great with me. I have my ups and downs just like everyone else. Part of my job here is to raise awareness about IBS and how it affects many of us on a regular basis. Well, here is an aspect that many of us with IBS deal with on a daily basis – pretending like we’re good when we’re really not.

Can any of you relate to my article? Do you feel as if you have to pretend that you’re fine more often then you want? If so, please comment below and let us know how you feel. Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing your responses.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • gutsalmighty
    4 months ago

    Yes, I totally relate to your article. It is very hard to be true to yourself when concealing the fact one is ill or struggling with some physical difficulties. I’ve been doing this all my life – because it was just too awkward, or painful, for the people in my life to deal with the life changing results of Polio. But to update re IBS , yes, I do conceal symptoms perhaps, or certainly the inward dilemma that’s going on! I don’t know the answer…..but it is helpful to read and relate to articles on here. So thank you, and good luck

  • HessP moderator author
    4 months ago

    I’m so glad you’re able to relate, @gutsalmighty! It’s like we want support, but we certainly don’t want to be a burden at the same time. Hence, why we sometimes conceal our problems and try to deal with them ourselves. The great thing, however, is we have online communities like this one where we don’t have to feel bad about venting and sharing our stories. So, feel free to share with this anytime and thanks so much for your comment! Stay strong and positive!

    Hess, Team member

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