12 October 2010

"The Look"

There's certain 'Looks' that only people with an invisible illness such as MS are familiar with. Co-workers or friends or even family that is aware of the diagnosis have all taken part in sharing (albiet unwittingly) "The Look" with me. It's one of the things I detest the most about people knowing about my MS.

Now - this look comes in many different forms, right? For me, well there is the one that reeks of pity - the one that tells you they think you're putting on an act for attention - the look of guilt - and the one where people choose not to see you anymore.

None of them are easy to deal with.

The people I love the most in this world rule the "guilt look" unlike anything I've ever seen before. Lord forbid I have a relapse - or share with them when I'm having a difficult moment... that's the apparent 'green light' for them to paste this look on their face & in their eyes... makes me wish that I could snap a picture of that look & let them know it actually makes me feel like *not* sharing anything with them sometimes. I know they mean nothing mean-spirited by it - and likely have no idea how it is read - but its there nonetheless.

Co-Workers, on the other hand, are split into a few different groups. The core group I work with face to face on a nearly daily basis - they've accepted my disease & have been amazing... the ones on the outside of this core group - that are located in different offices I only have to visit once in a while - well those are the ones that either give me the pity look or the look that says "whatever - she's just looking for attention."

I wonder - what 'looks' others with an invisible illness get - and what they say? I'm sure there are more out there than the four I mentioned...

Don't get me wrong - there are good 'looks' too... Like the ones from my kids that say "I love you" even when I'm having a bad MS day.
The look that hurts the worst though - is the look from someone I truly believed was one of those 'thick or thin' kind of friends - who now chooses to look right through me & act like I don't exist. Part of me understands - that dealing with this disease & accepting it is hard sometimes - and they just aren't really sure what to say or how to deal with it...