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Honesty is the Best Policy

I was a much more private person before I got sick nearly two years ago. I didn’t feel the need to tell too many people that I could get sick with porphyria-- after all, I assumed I wouldn’t. And for what it’s worth, I’m a very lucky person-- when I got sick, I was able to manage it through a number of activities (which I may detail later), and I got my life and health under control, for now.

But boy, was it ever so hard having to explain to friends, acquaintances, and bosses why I was sick. It was even more difficult because I didn’t look sick. Someone once said to me, “You look fine now.” She was suspicious. I was as bubbly as ever, which was mostly an act-- and not everyone is an expert on health by looking at someone. For a brief second I felt badly that I didn’t “look” sick enough, until I realized whether or not people believed me was irrelevant. The only people who needed to believe me were doctors, and that’s another story, another issue for another day.

Yet I don’t regret a single choice I made to actually talk about my sickness. If I was unloading too much information on one of my bosses, then they could deal with feeling awkward; so long as they understood that I was tired and anxious and sick all the time, then they could help make my life better. If friends didn’t want to talk to a sick girl, then they weren’t friends. If I made acquaintances feel uncomfortable by being sick, then they had to deal with their own fear of mortality, not mine.

So, next time someone asks how you’re doing, and you feel utterly terrible and sick, tell the truth. It’s hard. But in the end it’s best if people know your situation, where you’re coming from, and why you write gripey blog posts about honesty being the best policy!

--Miranda Dennis

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