When people ask me, ‘how are you?’, I’m a pro at shrugging it off. And there are so many reasons for this: because it’s just easier, because I don’t want to bore people, because I don’t want sympathy, because everyone has their own issues to deal with and they don’t need to hear all about my ailments, because it’s hard to explain the unexplainable… Quite frankly, it is easier to shrug it off with, ‘Yeah, good thanks’. Besides, how often is ‘how are you?’ a simple case of rhetorical etiquette?
The trouble with ‘I’m fine’, however, is that people will believe it; especially when you look fine to boot. And the trouble with that? MS won’t be taken seriously. How often have you heard people say, ‘I know someone with MS and they’re fine’? I’m sure people must say it about me. There is no accounting for the fatigue, the pain, the limitations when walking, the visual disturbances, the effort it takes to do anything, all the hidden symptoms that we deal with but choose not to bore people with. Another consequence of this is that we may look like a fraud when using a blue badge or claiming disability benefits. Pretending to be fine when you’re not surely serves to further enhance the ignorance surrounding invisible disabilities; and I should think I am guiltier of this than most. So, what’s the solution? Is there a solution? I honestly have no idea. But it is interesting to ponder don’t you think? Any thoughts?
Oh, by the way, how are you all?
First published 4 January 2018