Explanations for Absences

When you appear much healthier than is actually the case, it’s extremely challenging to navigate how to address your absence from any given event. I try to initially offer explanations that don’t refer to my health problems, whenever possible to do so. There’s always the default reason of being exceptionally busy, of course. However, all of us seem to be very busy, after all.

Those of us who are living with chronic illness have baseline symptoms, on a regular basis. On any given day, those symptoms may be intensified, for any number of reasons. In my experience, this remains challenging for others to fully accept when you happen to appear the same, regardless of your individual symptom severity.

I truly don’t want others to think of me as a chronic complainer, nor as an individual who has absolutely no identity outside of being a full-time, long-term patient. Not offering any type of explanation for an absence isn’t acceptable, nor is it polite. I have decided to keep my explanation short and sweet; I typically simply share that I needed to rest.

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