One of the worst parts of being sick and not having a diagnosis for so many years meant that anyone who knew me either suspected or flat out knew I was “faking” my illness. It’s not uncommon for chronically ill patients to be accused of hypochondria or malingering, and to be honest I can’t be too angry because looking back, it did look on the surface as though I was “thinking myself sick”.
Once I finally found my immunologist, got diagnosed and began treatment (and saw an immediate positive response) I was able to finally begin to process the trauma of going undiagnosed and often unbelieved for so long. After decades of medical disappointments and experiences that also left me traumatized, I had practically grown numb to being treated as a head case but it did feel good to have the ability to be able to say, “I told you so!” if I wanted to. I just didn’t want to by that point.
Anyone who stuck by me, like my husband and son, were still by my side and everyone else had gotten the boot anyway. I honestly don’t have any tolerance for abusive people and would rather be utterly and completely alone than to deal with assholes, unless I absolutely have to.
Still, I do get it. I remember wondering if an acquaintance was faking her “chemical sensitivity” issues years ago, before my own got so bad, and sometimes I wonder if that’s karma for me for doubting her. Who knows, but I do know that I believe you if no one else does. Mast cell disease causes the craziest symptoms that can make YOU look crazy, but you’re not.
You’re not crazy, you’re not faking and you’re not alone. We’re both just sick.
That doesn’t answer why people are quick to dismiss us and I honestly don’t know. As someone who has an invisible illness I’ll always be doubted but I’ve learned to not care what anyone else thinks. It has been the best medicine I’ve found so far (well, after quercetin and gastrocrom lol).