A man holds a fake smile to his face

Faking Being Well With Crohn's

When you suffer from a Crohn's diagnosis or any chronic illness for that matter, we are masters at faking being well. That's right. Have an important event you need to attend but experiencing awful symptoms? The average person would bail, but not us. We have magical powers when it comes to this.

One situation that comes to mind, is a wedding I had to attend a couple of years back. It was my boyfriend's best friend's wedding. My boyfriend was a groomsman and it was a really important day, and just as my luck would have it, I was experiencing a horrendous flare. On top of that, I was horribly anemic and struggling severely with fatigue.

Trying to hide my Crohn's symptoms

I will never forget getting ready in the afternoon. Of course, I needed to shower, wash my hair, blow-dry my hair, then style it, apply make-up, and everything else. By the time I got out of the shower, I was toast. I was breathing hard as if I had just ran a marathon and the thought of all the other steps I still had to do overwhelmed me. I had to control my emotions not to cry.

As I sat down to apply my make-up, I was so out of breath by the time I unzippered the make-up bag that I said to myself: I need to stay home, this is insane. And then I just thought how upsetting it would be for my boyfriend not to have me there. So! I pushed through.

Somehow, I got there, all dolled up and no one had even the slightest clue how awful I felt. And they would never know. Because make-up hides the dark circles under my eyes. Lipstick covers the pale lips. Hair spray enhances volume for my frail hair. And a long-sleeve dress covers the hives on my arms. From the outside, I look great.

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Faking it is so painful

But, I will say, I will never put myself through that again. I was miserable inside throughout the entire wedding and I was counting down the minutes until I could go home. I was dreaming about getting into my PJs and crawling into bed. I wasn't present. I was internally suffering. But on the outside, you better believe I was all smiles.

I am a master at faking being well. I can be bubbly and social. Then escape to the bathroom with horrific abdominal cramps, bleeding, even vomit, then wash up and leave the bathroom as if nothing happened. I could have abdominal pain, and feel like giving up, but I will stay and have a chat like it's another Tuesday.

Sometimes, I push myself, because I think if I only went out to socialize when I felt well, I would go out 3 times a year, and to me, that's no way to live. So I push. However, as I have matured with this diagnosis, I have learned to say no to more events.

How about you? Are you a master at faking being well? Share below.

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