Lauren's Looks

Baking | Beauty | Fashion | Chronic illness

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Dear diary... Let's have a catch up | Stamping out the invisible illness stigma, and hurtful comments


Well I don't know about you but it feels like I haven't caught up with you all for ages...In actual fact it's been so long that it almost feels like when you bump into an old friend from school and come over all giddy with excitement because eeeek, SO. MUCH. GOSSIP.  

And I'm sure that you'll agree with me when I say that a good old catch up with your closest gal pals works wonders if you're feeling a little down in the dumps, right?

Wether that gossip involves moaning about how stressed out you've been at work, or, y'know, the weekly crisis of 'I really hate my hair at the minute', whatever the topic of discussion may be that week, you seem to feel 10x better for it. 

So, today I thought I needed just that, a girly gossip. Only this gossip is different as I've decided to let you in on the fun moan too. Do you fancy joining in.. yes? Then grab yourself a cuppa...

Basically, when I first started uploading my holiday snaps to Instagram a couple of weeks ago I had a sneaky feeling that I was going to receive at least one negative comment which would read a little like this "I thought you were supposed to be ill, so how can you miraculously go on holiday?", and bloody hell, I must be Mystic Meg in disguise because I received that exact same comment a week later. I'm psychic , I know! 

Now I'll be the first to admit that I probably don't help myself by portraying a completely different person to what I am behind closed doors, and I choose to share only the better moments that happen in my life, but then who wants to scroll past a picture of me crying because I feel so ill? I'm guessing nobody. I share only the face that I want the world to see, and that's my heavily made up, smiling one, as appose to my ill looking miserable one. 

There's been times where I've been so unwell and yet shared a picture on Insta that tells a completely different story, such as Christmas Day last year when I was rolling around in absolute agony with the worst crippling pains, unable to eat barely any of my Christmas dinner due to feeling that awful that I could throw up any minute, and yet did I share that? No, no I didn't, I shared a picture of myself all done up looking completely fine and I went on to tell everybody that I'd had such a lovely day. 

Which brings me onto the real point of this post: INSTAGRAM ISN'T REAL LIFE, and appearance doesn't reveal a damn thing about how you're truly feeling. 

Instagram photos are carefully curated snaps that by no means reflect the reality of my life. A selection of cute items, good lighting and a filter are all it takes to portray a 'perfect' lifestyle, a recent snap of a load of shopping bags were old, and I hadn't even been shopping, but I don't mind admitting that because my intention is never to try and deceive people into thinking that I'm a lady who lunches, shops and sips on prosecco 24/7, as that isn't me. 

Instagram isn't my life, I just like taking pretty photos of things that I love, and 95% of my photos just so happen to be set up with the sole purpose to look pretty- plus I'd get stick for sharing every detail of my illness. 

For me, it's a creative outlet, a place for me to share my passions: fashion, beauty, and taking photos, and although illness is a huge part of my life I don't always want to share that driving for just fifteen minutes has left me in tears because I now have the worst headache and achy limbs due to concentrating- try telling me that it's normal to feel like that after driving?!- I'm so much more than that, and even I can't make lying in a heap on the sofa look good. 

I'll be honest in saying that I've been in two minds as to wether or not to write another personal piece about my illness on here as the harsh reality is, not everybody will 'get it'. But hey, not everybody is understanding, and that's just life. 

Don't get me wrong, the unrelenting exhaustion and inability to lead a 'normal' life thanks to a whole host of other symptoms that accompany the fatigue is tough, but having to constantly prove to others that you are in fact ill, and not just fraud is even tougher. 

One half of me seriously regrets ever opening up about having M.E, and the other half, slightly more positive half is happy that I did as I now have tonnes of friends that do 'get it'- and that definitely outweighs the stick I have received. At the end of the day you CANNOT let an illness define you, life goes on, and I would quite like to enjoy mine when I can. 

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