Chronic illness 'You're faking it'

You’re faking it

One of the most common stigmas we hear is ‘You’re faking it.’ In some form or another. To get on disability. To get out of work. Something. Exaggerating. Whatever.


I can see why they would think we are faking it to get on disability.

  • The money is so good. Like almost starving and can’t pay your bills good. I would so much rather be financially unstable and be unable to plan for retirement than work.
  • We get to be home all day. Stagnating in lack of things to do and feeling guilty about our lack of productivity because we can’t even get the damn housework done like a normal person.
  • The fame. Wait, I meant the shame we get inflicted on us by others.

Yes, those perks are awesome. I can see the envy. I do work myself, part-time, just on leave until this vertigo ends. So the fake it to get out of work applies to me…

  • I love being in too much pain to actually function such that I cannot even drive or work. That is how I love to spend my day.
  • The puking and diarrhea especially bring a lot of joy to me when I cannot work
  • Spinning sensations, and falling sensations and uncontrollable dizziness? I have no idea why I think I can’t drive and work like that. So stupid to call in sick.
  • To be honest, this is truly how I would like those people to spend their day off to give it a go… it is so much fun I wouldn’t want to hog all the funness.


The fact is, we fake being well… too well. We fooled them. They think we are fine when we are not. We stopped:

  • Crying in public
  • Writhing in pain
  • Screaming
  • Cursing at work… at home cursing is totally something we do.
  • Commenting on the pain
  • Talking about the pain
  • Hiding our obvious pain behaviors. Wincing, flinching, grabbing the spot that hurts, grimacing. But these happen, when it is sufficient for us to do so. Beyond our baseline.

No, we wear the pain on the inside. It has become our normal. We internalize it a lot. Endure it. Suffer through it. But we don’t show and tell often. Unless it gets UP THERE on the pain scale.

They are the fools though. There is no fame and fortune to be had faking chronic illness and chronic pain. All we get is our pain, our illness, stigma, shame, guilt, and financial insecurity. The stigma is still pervasive.


More stigma posts:

When confronted with the lazy stigma

Self-stigma: the story we tell ourselves often isn’t true

Depression stigma: taking medications



4 thoughts on “Chronic Illness: “You’re faking it”

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