Kindly Take Another Look

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see the same person you've always known, or do you see someone different? Do you feel different now, since your diagnosis, then how you used to feel?

There are days that I am surprised to see my face staring back at me as the reflection mirrors my every move. It isn't as though I expected my appearance to change as a result of my diagnosis; but, there are days that it feels like it should have changed.

It feels as if my body has aged overnight. My joints feel deformed beyond recognition. I feel like the way I remember my grandparents, hunched over and shuffling slowly. However, true to form, my invisible illness is just that, invisible to the casual observer.

Since no one can see what I feel, I carry on as if nothing is wrong. I've often wondered if I would be more kind to myself if the pain manifested visually. I know that if I were to see someone else being unkind to themselves and they had a physical issue, I would want to intervene and have a conversation with them. I would remind them that there is no need to make things harder for themselves, that having an issue of any sort does not mean that they should beat themselves up.

Next time you look in the mirror and feel so different from how you look, remind yourself to be kind because you are going through a lot, even if someone else cannot see it.

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