How Much to Discuss Symptoms

I think that the majority of individuals who have chronic illnesses struggle with how much to discuss their symptoms. I happen to think that this question is even more complex for those who have relatively invisible symptoms.

In the absence of detecting overtly visible symptoms, we tend to assume that others are basically healthy. If someone with hidden symptoms doesn’t reveal his/her distress, they may be “suffering in silence.”

When individuals with hidden distress choose to disclose their symptoms, they may encounter others’ varying degrees of disbelief. We are so powerfully swayed by the impact of someone’s appearance. It may override what someone actually says about the true impact of their symptoms.

This dilemma remains a challenge for those of us with relatively undetectable symptoms. We continue to need the support and validation of others.

When extensive periods of time have elapsed since I have discussed the impact of my ongoing symptoms, others have actually assumed that I no longer have them. Conversely, if I happen to discuss my symptoms too frequently, I risk being perceived by others as hypochondriacal.

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